Qualifying in China today confirmed the very high level of competition which exists between the mid-field runners, says Carlos Sainz.

The Toro Rosso bull missed out on the Q3 segment by just 0.060 seconds but believes the quality of his STR12 chassis has him well positioned to aim for another top ten finish on Sunday.

“It’s incredible how tight the midfield is!” said Sainz, whose team mate Daniil Kvyat qualified ahead of him in 9th position.

“To see two or three drivers within a tenth means that nowadays qualifying is even more important and even the smallest detail can make the difference.

“I’m honestly really enjoying these fights and today’s has been quite an eventful qualifying session – every lap counts and I was trying to find half a tenth here, half a tenth there… It’s exciting! “.

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While he regretted missing the crucial cut, the loss does come with a silver lining as he will have the choice of which tyre to start the race on.

The Spanish driver believes therefore that his chances of achieving a good result on Sunday remain intact, even if it rains.

“Unfortunately I didn’t make it into Q3 this afternoon, but I missed out for so little – it was quite a decent lap so I’m not worried about it.

“Tomorrow is the big day and we start from P11, which is the best possible result if you don’t get into Q3 as we can choose our tyre strategy… If it’s a dry race!

“If it’s wet, we know have a strong chassis and I always welcome the rain, so one way or another I think we have opportunities to fight for a good result tomorrow.”

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