• Australian GP - Qualifying

Mixed emotions for Toro Rosso rookies in qualifying

ESPN Staff
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Carlos Sainz qualified eighth on his debut © Getty Images
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Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz called his first qualifying session a "dream" after finishing eighth, but 17-year-old team-mate Max Verstappen was left rueing a mistake which cost him a place in Q3 in Australia.

The Toro Rosso pair looked strong on Friday and carried that into qualifying on Saturday afternoon, with Sainz rounding off an impressive day by beating the Lotus drivers to eighth. Sainz said making the final top-ten shoot out was special but thinks he even left a bit of lap time on the table after a mistake on his final run.

"To be honest, it felt like quite a nice lap," Sainz said. "Obviously I cannot say it was a perfect lap and there was more performance to come from the car and me, as a rookie. For sure, there is more performance in the car to extract and for sure I have margin of improvement but it was a clean lap, a lap without mistakes. Unfortunately I had a power loss at the exit of turn 13 and lost a couple of tenths there without full power which gave me something to think about what might have happened, but sometimes this happens.

"It was a target but a very very high target as you can imagine for a first time in F1 quali. To set your target in Q3 is not that easy so I am very happy to achieve it - it was one of my dreams, one of my targets and to achieve it makes me very happy obviously."

Verstappen, who will shatter the record for youngest F1 driver on Sunday, was fourth at the end of Q1 but had a costly slide at the start of his lap in the second session and was left wondering what might have been after finishing 12th.

"Q1 was good, the start of Q2 was good, just not completely happy with the warm-up of the tyres as I had some traffic in front of me and had to slow down quite a lot so my first run on softs in Q2 was not perfect and then, on my second run, the first few corners were quite good and I was 3-4 tenths up on my own lap time. Unfortunately, I lost even more out of turn four because of my oversteer moment, but thats part of my learning curve.

"I basically missed the inside kerb and then, in that corenr, you get quite a lot of oversteer and I still tried to push, went a bit too wide, got a big oversteer moment, the rear tyres heated up too much and the lap was over."

The Dutch youngster thinks he could have been emulated his team-mate without that error.

"For sure we could have been close to Carlos [in Q3]."

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