Sainz Jr says seventh 'like gold' for STR
31 July 2017 – Carlos Sainz Jr. labelled seventh place at the Hungarian Grand Prix as "like gold" for Toro Rosso, with the team closing on Williams in the Constructors' Championship.
Sainz Jr. started from 10th position but launched up to sixth on the opening lap, and kept Fernando Alonso at bay across the first stint of the race.
Sainz Jr. ultimately relinquished sixth to Fernando Alonso after the pit-stop phase – the elder Spaniard completing a fine move through Turn 2/3 – but had enough in hand to hold off Sergio Pérez for seventh.
The result enabled Toro Rosso to move to within two points of Williams in the scrap for fifth in the standings.
"I managed to do a very good start, went around the outside of both McLarens into Turn 1 and held onto my position into Turn 2," said Sainz Jr.
"At this point, I saw that maybe I was also capable of getting a Mercedes, but I decided to back-off a bit and play it safe because the work was done.
"From then onwards it was a very tough task to defend from Fernando, as he was much faster than us.
"In the end he got past us but I'm happy to have been able to hold on to that seventh position… For us this is like gold at the moment!"
Sainz Jr.'s haul brought his points total up to 35 as he solidified ninth place in the Drivers' championship.
"All in all, it's been a very positive weekend with a perfect qualifying, a fantastic start and race," he said.
"I can now go on holiday happy and very satisfied with my first half of the season.
"I've ended up in the points in every race I've finished up until now, which is a good statistic to hold onto, and I'm enjoying this midfield battle."
Daniil Kvyat finished 12th in the other Toro Rosso.