Carlos Sainz Jr admits that his performance during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2016 was one of his highlights of last season, with the Spaniard starting the race in sixth position.
The Scuderia Toro Rosso driver converted that into an eighth place finish, but for Sainz, qualifying is far more special than the race due to the intense nature of the session to get the best spot on the grid.
“I’d say last year’s qualifying in Hungary was one of my highlights of the season,” said Sainz. “I remember being P15 in FP3 and suddenly, out of nowhere, putting one of the best laps of my life together in quali, with the intermediate tyres, to end up P4 in Q2 and making it into Q3 – something nobody was expecting!
“I then went for it on slick tyres on a damp track and ended up P6! I enjoyed it a lot!”
Sainz knows that race day will be different, especially around a track that it is notoriously difficult to overtake on, which makes the qualifying session even more important than it would be at other venues on the calendar.
“The track is one I like, especially in qualifying – it’s quite an intense lap!” said Sainz. “The race itself, if it doesn’t rain, isn’t so special because it’s quite difficult to overtake there; a bit like Monaco.”