Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel was delighted to have made it all the way through to the final round of qualifying in Portimão to secure a top ten grid spot for tomorrow's Portuguese Grand Prix.
It's the first time he's made it into Q3 with his new team Aston Martin, and his best qualifying performance since he started from tenth place with ferrari in last year's British GP at Silverstone.
“I am feeling happier after that session," Vettel said afterwards. "We are starting inside the top ten and will be in the middle of a big fight for points.
“It will be tight, the whole midfield pack is tight, so we will see what we get," he predicted. "There is still a lot of hard work ahead of us.
"But things are starting to click for me and become a bit more automatic, which is helping me focus more on my driving.
"I am still learning about the car, but today I felt more comfortable. The conditions were tricky despite the sunshine and the gusts of wind were quite unpredictable and made the car feel quite light.
“Very windy, very difficult for us to get the laps together,” he told Sky Sports F1. "But in Q1 I started to step up and felt quite a bit more comfortable by the second run in Q1. Then Q2 and we made it to Q3
"Not so happy with the final lap because I think I had a little bit more in me," he admitted. "The wind direction had changed again, and I lost some time as a result, which is costly when the midfield is so tight.
"The wind is quite strong in some places so it doesn’t make it that easy to anticipate," he added. “At some stages you were going faster and didn’t know why, and at other stages was going slower and didn’t know why.
“Obviously you can’t see the wind direction and intensity. It was quite gusty so I had some laps where I just lost the car. It just felt like I did something wrong, but it turned out to be a gust
“I think that was the same for all of us," he added. "Overall, though, it was a better session for me. Let’s see what we can do tomorrow.”
Meanwhile his team mate Lance Stroll suffered a surprise elimination at the end of the first round of qualifying after being caught out by traffic as well as the windy conditions. He will now have to make his way back through the order from 17th on the grid.
“A difficult qualifying session and we did not manage to build on the performance level we showed yesterday," Stroll sighed. "I was not very comfortable in the car today and I could not lean on it as much.
"The traffic at the end of Q1 also did not help and cost me some time on my second run," he added. "It is quite a change from yesterday, so we will go away and understand where we can improve and do better next time.
"Even though today’s result is disappointing, I think we will be stronger in the race. That has been the case in the previous two races. It is a track where we saw lots of overtaking last year and I will be pushing hard to make up ground tomorrow.
"With a strong first lap and a good strategy, I think we can score points.”