Scuderia Toro Rosso drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne qualified today in 11th and 14th positions, a setting for a fight with other narrowly matched midfield runners.
Daniel Ricciardo, STR8-01, 1:25.519, 11th: “Honestly, when I crossed the line, my engineer came on the radio and told me I was currently P9 and I thought this could be good, but a few corners later I had dropped to P11. So I was a bit disappointed, even if I think I probably got the most out of it. We had a pretty intense morning, after I went off and damaged the car on Friday, which meant I didn’t do a long run. So we tried to do that today and as a result, we had to neglect our short run work a little bit. All the same, we did a good job in qualifying and being eleventh, I get a free tyre choice for the start, although I know some of the top ten opted to do their final runs on the Prime.”
Jean-Eric Vergne, STR8-04, 1:25.798, 14th: “I can be reasonably pleased with my fastest lap, as it was pretty clean, even if I lost a little bit of time on a kerb, but nothing too serious. It’s very close in our part of the field and we did a good job overnight and this morning to improve the car and there’s only a few tenths between a whole group of us. I think tomorrow in the race, with the Option tyre not lasting very long, there are plenty of choices we can make relating to strategy and I feel confident we can fight for a points position finish.”
Laurent Mekies, Head of Vehicle Performance: “A super-tight qualifying, after it was already clear from yesterday that you had ten cars virtually tied together on lap time. We have ended up P11 with Daniel, half a tenth from making it into Q3. It is very close and both our drivers did a good job this afternoon, as Jev is only a couple of tenths down on his team-mate, but three places behind him. I think we have recovered some pace today and are genuine contenders in that very big mid-field. We will have a very tough fight tomorrow, as you can expect if you have ten cars within three tenths. We worked on our race pace this morning with Daniel, as we were unable to do so on Friday and here too, we feel we have made progress. We can look forward to an exciting race tomorrow.”