Both Toro Rosso drivers had trouble finding the single-lap pace needed for qualifying today and were therefore unable to match their performance of last week. Both men also found their cars were doing better on the harder tyre than on the medium.
Daniel Ricciardo STR8-01, 13th: “This result is not too bad, even if it’s unfortunate that so far, we have not found the pace we showed last week. I don’t think I could have done better than this today, looking at the guys we managed to out-perform in qualifying and how we went in free practice. We were close to a McLaren and ahead of both Saubers and Williams, so I feel that is where we should be on current form. As for tomorrow, I’d love to get back in the points again and the tyres could produce some interesting surprises, which might work in our favour.”
Jean-Eric Vergne, STR8-03, 16th: “It was a strange session for me, as I set my fastest lap in Q1 on the Hard tyre. After that, on the Mediums that are meant to be faster, I was incapable of improving my time. The car seems to have changed a lot over the weekend and we need to find out why. At least looking at my lap time on the Hard it wasn’t too bad, but there’s something we don’t understand about the Mediums. We can’t say the car is bad, so I feel we can do better tomorrow, when there are still possibilities to do something in the race.”
James Key, Technical Director: “On Friday we were fairly pleased with where we were, although we knew the car was not as well balanced as it could be. So we worked overnight and made changes for FP3, when we found that the balance was improved but somehow, while we had good pace on the Prime, we were struggling more on the Option. For qualifying, we went back a little bit on our settings to ensure we hadn’t made the car insensitive to the tyres. Jev got through into Q2 with a time set on the Prime and Daniel had a reasonable lap on Options. We knew it would be tough to get to Q3, especially as Force India are clearly quicker than us in qualifying trim this weekend. In the end, it was extremely tight, with Daniel doing a good job on the Options, but Jev didn’t get his Option lap and we now need to look at the data to understand what happened. The gap between the two types of tyre here is much less than in China and the Option seems to be a reasonable tyre to race on, so it’s useful that we have a couple of sets of new Options for that, as looking after the rear end of the car will be a key element in the race.”