It was a solid first qualifying session of the season for Toro Rosso, as the team and its drivers exploited the difficult weather conditions to their optimum, qualifying 6th and 8th for tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix.
Jean-Eric Vergne, STR9-04: “It’s a very good feeling, a great start to the season. After so much hard work during winter testing, to get two cars into Q3 is a great result and I’m very happy. I think we have a good car for the season, I believe in the team and in myself so I can’t really say that I’m surprised. The guys did a very good job and I want to thank everybody for getting two cars in the top 10. Thinking of the race pace I still do not know if we are where we want to be, we just have to go on pushing as much as possible and hopefully we will have a good fight tomorrow. Congratulations to Daniil! It’s always positive to have a good teammate to push each other.”
Daniil Kvyat, STR9-03: “This was a very good session for us and I really didn’t expect to be qualifying 8th at my first Grand Prix 2 months ago! This is definitely a big step forward and I’m very happy for the team, who did a fantastic job also from the strategy side. The conditions were very tricky, but the car felt good and in the end we were able to put everything together. Now our focus is on tomorrow, which should be interesting also because of the weather forecast.”
James Key, Technical Director: “Obviously it’s an important weekend for everyone with the new regulations so it was very difficult to tell yesterday where everyone was. It was always going to be today when we would have really begun to understand things. We went well in FP3 in dry conditions and we felt like we made some progress, although we couldn’t get the most out of the soft tyres. We had a plan for our qualifying session which we quickly had to change so we still do not know as much as we would like about the dry conditions. Clearly in the wet it was about being reliable, the drivers keeping it together and having the right calls on the pit wall. I have to say that all of this worked very well and the drivers did a fantastic job. Congratulations to both of them, particularly to Daniil who had his first qualifying in very difficult conditions. Well done also to all the engineers for getting the tyre selection right in the changing weather conditions. We’ve had a long road to come to this point after winter testing and to start the first race with both cars in Q3 is a very positive way to start the new season.”
Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 track support leader: “An incredible Qualifying result. This morning we had some issues with the cooling on JEV’s car but we could correct with the information from Daniil to come out very strongly in the afternoon. The changing conditions were challenging for the new Power Units and it would have been very easy to make a mistake with the settings, but we managed the state of charge and energy management really well. Having two cars in the top 10 in our first ever race together is a fantastic start for the partnership, but we know that tomorrow is the main event.”