Toro Rosso improves, but still only 14th and 20th

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Canada, Circuit Gilles Villeneuveca

Daniel Ricciardo was reasonably happy with his qualifying performance today as the set-up changes have improved the car overnight. He did however only qualify in 14th, realising further up the grid would have been unrealistic. Jean-Eric Vergne meanwhile struggled with his car and will start from 20th.

Daniel Ricciardo, STR7-04:
FP3: Best lap 1:15.498, pos. 16th, 19 laps
Q: Best lap: (Q1) 1:15.552, (Q2) 1:15.078, pos. 14th
“This result is not too bad, considering the pace we showed so far this weekend. Fourteenth was probably about the best we could have done as there is a three tenths gap to thirteenth place. I managed to out-qualify some of our usual competitors, but fourteenth is not going to set the world on fire and we always want to do better. However, we can be satisfied with the way we improved the car over the two days, taking a step forward and hopefully we can make further progress tomorrow.”

Jean-Eric Vergne, STR7-03:
FP3: Best lap: no time, pos. 23th, 3 laps
Q: Best lap: (Q1) 1:16.602, pos. 20th
“My little mistake in FP3 cost me a lot. I didn’t get any running this morning and then this afternoon, I never really got a clean lap, encountering a lot of traffic which is therefore very disappointing. On top of that, my car was quite different today to yesterday, so it was not the easiest thing to adapt to it in just a couple of laps in Q1. Even if the traffic would not have made a huge difference to my position on the grid, some cleaner laps would have allowed me to improve my performance and get a better feel for the car with this different set-up. As for the morning problem, I got a little bit on the grass which was wet from all last night’s rain and the car just got away from me, but the guys worked well to get everything back together for qualifying. We always have a good car for the race, so let’s wait and see how much ground we can make up tomorrow.”

Laurent Mekies, Chief Engineer:
“Yet another very tight qualifying in which Daniel performed well. With such a close field, it’s very easy to make mistakes and even if we benefited from a couple of other drivers getting it wrong, this is part of the game, so Daniel did well to keep out of trouble and get the most out of the car. Hopefully, it also means we are on the right path in terms of the development of our car. As for Jean-Eric, he paid the price for not running in the morning session, after his early off-track moment. Making his job even harder this afternoon was the fact we had made several changes to his car overnight and it is never easy to adapt to something new when your first time in the car is in Q1. The first part of qualifying was particularly busy as everyone found the tyres good enough to do a lot of laps and so it was not easy to find a clear lap. As ever, we can expect a very eventful race in Canada and, as we have seen that our race performance is frequently better than it is in qualifying, with such a tight field, this extra relative pace might allow us to fight for the mid-field honours tomorrow.”