It was a tremendous day in the sun in Spain for the Scuderia Toro Rosso team on Saturday, with Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen locking out the third row of the grid for Sunday’s race at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Sainz was delighted to be qualify fifth, just ahead of this team-mate and as the highest of the Spanish drivers, revealing that up until qualifying he had not been happy with the set-up of his car. He hopes to turn this good effort on Saturday into a positive result on Sunday to secure his first points since the Malaysian Grand Prix.
“Wow, what a result,” insisted Sainz. “This is something very special and I’m very, very happy! A P5 and a P6 is an amazing achievement for the whole team.
“I wasn’t totally comfortable with the car up until the qualifying session, but then in Q1’s first run the car was right where I wanted it, I was feeling very confident and was able to build on that and score a very nice result.
“I can only put this down to a lot of hard work and analysis, and I have to thank the team for this. It won’t be easy to finish the race in the top five, but it’s free to dream and we will try our best to end the race in the highest position possible.
“I’m also very happy to be starting tomorrow’s race from P5 here at home in Barcelona, in front of my home crowd. I could see all the fans cheering, it was a great feeling and I’d like to thank them all for their support. Let’s push for a good result in the race tomorrow!”
Despite qualifying sixth, Verstappen was still not entirely content with his lap, feeling the balance of his car was still not completely to his liking. He appreciated that the qualifying result for the team was a good one, and hopes to convert this into a decent haul of points on Sunday.
“I’m not 100% happy with my lap as I was struggling a bit with the balance compared to this morning’s practice session, but today’s sixth place is still a positive result,” said Verstappen.
“To start tomorrow’s race from fifth and sixth is a great achievement for us and there’s a fantastic atmosphere right now in the team. The most important is for both of us to score points and that’s what we’ll fight for tomorrow.
“The car has been great the whole weekend and, even though it won’t be easy, I will try to keep my position in the race.”