Carlos Sainz Jr.: “I’m very happy with making into Q3 today!”

Carlos Sainz Jr was surprised to make it into the top ten shootout in Singapore - Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Carlos Sainz Jr. admitted his surprise at making it through to the top ten shootout for the Singapore Grand Prix on Saturday, with the Spaniard set to start tenth on the grid for Sunday’s race.

The Scuderia Toro Rosso driver had not expected to make it through into the top ten after tough free practice sessions on Friday and Saturday, but Sainz, who earlier this weekend was confirmed to be moving to the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team in 2018, drove superbly to advance through.

Despite the strong showing in qualifying, Sainz admitted that seeing the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team show better pace in Singapore this weekend will likely mean a race of trying to hold onto the final point rather than attack either Fernando Alonso or Stoffel Vandoorne ahead of him.

“I’m very happy with making into Q3 today!” said Sainz.   “If I say the truth, after yesterday’s FP2 and today’s FP3 we didn’t look that competitive and I thought that Q3 was a bit out of hand for us today, but in the end we managed to put a very good lap together – the pace came back in qualifying and I’m very satisfied!

“We now need to think about the race because it’s not going to be easy. Unfortunately for us, a few of our closest competitors are quite a big step ahead of us here so it will be a race more on the defending side tomorrow, looking in the mirrors, but I’m up for it and will try my best to keep this point-position!”