Daniel Ricciardo has returned to Q3 for the first time since Bahrain 2012 by qualifying in 7th place for tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix. His team mate Jean-Eric Vergne was rightly disappointed as he only managed to get into 16th place.
Daniel Ricciardo, STR8-01, 7th: “It’s nice to be in Q3. It’s the first time since Bahrain last year that I’ve made it to the top ten, so that’s nearly a whole year. I am definitely looking forward to having a strong race tomorrow and will give it all I’ve got to make the most of this seventh place on the grid. I think it will be an exciting race and today, you could see that most of us waited until the last moments in Q3 to go out, with everyone thinking about saving tyres for tomorrow, as the Options were having a hard time on a long run on Friday. This result will boost everyone’s spirits, and mine as well and I really can’t wait for the lights to go out tomorrow! The guys have been working so hard back at the factory and they’ve made the car quicker, so well done to everyone.”
Jean-Eric Vergne, STR8-03, 16th: “That was disappointing, because I’ve been on the pace since Friday, something didn’t feel quite right on the car this afternoon. However, I am sure we can sort things out for tomorrow and when you see where my team-mate qualified then that has to be a positive sign for tomorrow, because the car is clearly working well. There will be plenty of opportunities to do something from here in the race. The tyre situation is quite complicated and we will have to see how to make the most of them, because the right strategy will be the biggest factor tomorrow afternoon. What we can say is that the car has definitely improved compared to the first two races.”
James Key, Technical Director: “We brought some relatively subtle changes here that improved on the hardware we had for the first two races which we hoped would allow us to make a good step forward and overall, they have. We didn’t expect to be significantly better here, as this track has traditionally been difficult for us. However, all weekend our performance has been reasonable and we had a smoother time from Friday to Saturday than at the previous races and the car is responding well to changes. Daniel put in a fantastic effort, doing everything right and finding a huge amount of time with each new tyre set. It was a well controlled drive and he thoroughly deserves to have got to Q3 and a seventh place on the grid. It’s also great news for the team, as we have all been working very hard at the track and the factory, because we knew we could do better than in the first two races. It was really unfortunate for Jev, who up until this afternoon was on the same pace as his team-mate. However, we’ve come from sixteenth on the grid to score points on Sunday, so we can remain optimistic. Inevitably with the spread between our cars on the grid, we will be looking at two different strategies for tomorrow. The Option tyre is something of an unknown, while Friday showed that the Prime is lasting quite well.”