Carlos Sainz Jr. was one of the stars of the dry/wet Qualifying session at the Hungaroring on Saturday, with the Spaniard set to start from fifth on the grid on Sunday.
The Renault Sport Formula One Team racer was one of the first to jump to slick tyres in the opening segment and put them to good use to get through, before making it through on the Intermediates when the weather deteriorated, but he then used a single set of Full Wet tyres throughout Q3 to take his position on the third row.
Sainz was the only Renault driver to make it into the top ten shoot-out after Nico Hülkenberg found himself caught out by the heavier rain in Q2, but the Spaniard was delighted to make the most of his session to finish behind only the two Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport and two Scuderia Ferrari drivers.
“What an intense qualifying!” said Sainz. “I’m really happy with today’s performance and it is great when things come together!
“Only having the Mercedes and the Ferraris in front is a very good sign of how well we managed these conditions. We took a bit of a gamble staying out with the same set of tyres in Q3. This meant I was able to post a very strong time even if the tyre performance wasn’t there to improve with my final lap.
“I was really happy when I saw P3 on the board, and P5 at the end of the session is a pretty good feeling too.”
Sainz knows points are paid out on Sunday but fifth on the grid offers them a good starting point as he bids to end the three-race run of missing out on the top ten, and it will be aided by having a free choice of starting time having gone through Q2 on Intermediates.
“Points however are given out tomorrow,” said the Spaniard. “Tyre strategy and the start will be specially important but I’m confident we can have a strong race.”