Carlos Sainz will line in P8 tomorrow at the Circuit de Catalunya following a solid performance in qualifying this afternoon.
The junior bull not only outpaced his new team mate Daniil Kvyat, who has yet to completely familiarize himself with his new Ferrari-powered car, but Sainz also succeed in reaching Q3, joining countryman Fernando Alonso for a top 10 start.
"I can be a happy man today because I thought there wasn't much to gain after Q2," Sainz explained.
"But I just found a couple of things in sector 1 and 2 and suddenly saw the lap time becoming quicker and I clicked a bit so I could find another 3 or 4 tenths that I wasn’t expecting to find in the car. I’m happy with that."
While Sainz and former team mate Max Verstappen were previously almost always perfectly matched at Toro Rosso, the Dutchman enjoyed a 0.6s lead in qualifying behind the wheel of his Red Bull.
A gap which most believe, including the Spaniard himself, reflects the performance differential between the two cars.
"I think at the moment at these kinds of tracks the Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari are on a different planet and I feel like I did the second of the normal planet.
"I think Bottas beat us there – I could have expected that no? We know they have something in qualy that we cannot pull out of our pocket and they (Williams) always pull it out."
In the past, Sainz good qualifying performance has not always been a precursor for a good race the following day. So he'll be hoping first and foremost for an incident-free Sunday afternoon.
"It was a good qualy but then I had many good qualys in the past but tomorrow we need to focus and execute our strategy properly.
"It's not going to be easy because the run into Turn1 is really, really long so if you have a good start it doesn’t really matter because with the Mercedes engines behind and in front of us they will come back.
"Then for us to overtake will be very difficult because we know we are one of the slowest, if not the slowest in the speed trap. It’s going to be a tough day tomorrow."