Carlos Sainz says he made a bold call by not pitting for fresh tyres midway through Q3 in order to complete his provisionally fastest lap in his charge to fifth place for Renault, marking his best qualifying result for the team.

The Spanish driver, who is on loan to Renault from Red Bull for 2018, had set his personal best times in the first and second sectors when his team asked him to pit to take new tyres for the final part of the pole position shootout.

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Sainz opted to reject the call in order to finish the lap, with his time propelling him up to third, before being shuffled down to fifth overall at the end of the session. The Spaniard says he’s proud of the lap which sees him secure his best qualifying result with Renault and only lose out to the Mercedes and Ferrari pairs.

“Not even in the wet did I think it was possible because in the wet downforce is even more important,” Sainz said. “It‘s where we are lacking against the top three teams so to be fighting for P3, P2 and P4 for the whole session and just missing out because of maybe not putting on a new at the end.

“I was so happy with my lap for P3 so obviously I didn’t want to pit at that stage but we will never know what could have happened with a new set.”

Sainz has also backed his own call not to pit for fresh tyres in the wet despite losing the opportunity to set a late flying lap.

“I knew with wet qualifiers you need to keep in touch with your team in every moment even if you are on a hot lap,” he said. “The team had the right to pit me as everyone was pitting for new tyres but it was a personal decision [not to].”

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