Toro Rosso drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne had very mixed feelings after their qualifying session today. Ricciardo is satisfied to qualify in 13th place while Jean-Eric Vergne is disappointed to have hit traffic on his flying lap, disabling him to get through to Q2.
Daniel Ricciardo, STR8-01: “Coming into qualifying today, if I’d been told I could sign on the dotted line for thirteenth, I’d have taken it. It’s a decent result and we haven’t been that far up the time sheets all weekend in practice. Looking at it that way, thirteenth is quite good, but in Q1, we were quite competitive and only one hundredth of a second from the top ten. With the rain coming, maybe we missed an opportunity to do better. We have improved but I still want more. Tomorrow, I plan to move up the order in what could be an unpredictable race. I really want to be in the top ten and get some points on the board early in the season.”
Jean-Eric Vergne, STR8-03: “I don’t know how much better I could have done, but it’s never nice to be out at the end of Q1. I was held up in the final sector by another car and lost between four and five tenths and that cost me the chance of getting to Q2. If we want to find positives, then at least I have saved a set of new tyres for the race, which could be important as this track is very hard on tyres. Being behind my team-mate? It means nothing today and the important thing is to be in front tomorrow! As usual, I am still being optimistic about tomorrow and hope to go after some points. Anything can happen in this race and in free practice we saw we had a good pace on a long run, which is encouraging.”
James Key, Technical Director: “We knew the balance of the car would be very different to Melbourne and we adjusted the car accordingly for Friday, but the difference in car balance and tyre behaviour was greater than we had expected. Overnight, we wanted to take another step for this morning, but on both cars it was actually a step too far and the softer tyres did not work well and the balance was not optimum. So we went back a bit for qualifying, making some additional changes. This did the trick, so we expected Q1 to be fine for us. Unfortunately, Jean-Eric encountered traffic and did not get a clean lap, which was a shame as both drivers have been evenly matched, so he looked likely to get through to Q2. Daniel did exactly what was required to secure a good Q2 position, especially considering how tight it is in the midfield. The changes we made for qualifying worked well and, from a race point of view, those changes will also be suitable for the race.”