Carlos Sainz says he is "extremely happy' to have extracted the maximum performance out of his Toro Rosso in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix.
Sainz qualified best of the rest behind Formula One's leading teams and will line-up a season best of sixth. Toro Rosso showed consistently strong pace during Thursday practice, but an improvement performance by its midfield competitors made it a more complicated session than the Spaniard expected.
"I did not expect it to be as complicated as it was," Sainz said. "After Q1, all of the midfield pack caught up on us. We were looking very strong during the weekend but suddenly in qualifying it was as tight as it was in the previous races. We build it up, probably a bit too quick for my liking, we were doing really fast laps from Q1 onwards. In Q3, just throw everything out there and put a good lap together to be P6 which is the maximum we can do here. I am extremely happy."
Toro Rosso sits an impressive fifth in the constructors' championship ahead of Williams and while Sainz is happy with the balance of the car, he admits he and the team expected more in terms of performance.
"I have been fairly happy with the Toro Rosso until now in terms of balance not so much in terms of speed," he said. "Both the team and myself expected a bit more in terms of speed from the Toro Rosso as we have been doing very good chassis.
"The balance is always there but it's just sometimes, you put in good laps with the balance okay and suddenly you are P12 and it's a bit of a down for the team. This weekend, it has everything worked perfectly. The balance was as good as in the other five races but the lap time is suddenly there."
Meanwhile Toro Rosso teammate Daniil Kvyat, who ended up 11th, insists he would not have made Q3 even if he did not have to abort his final flying lap when McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne crashed at the exit of the Swimming Pool with just minutes left on the clock.
"I was unlucky with the crash, the crash in the last minutes -- I think that's it. The car is not good enough in the beginning. My previous lap was as good as it could be for that time, my other lap was coming better but there was a yellow flag. I started P11, so there is no other way than going forward"