Even though it was a strong qualifying performance for Toro Rosso, the 7th and 10th grid slots could have been better still as both drivers lost crucial time in the final part of qualifying due to errors on their flying laps.
Daniel Ricciardo, STR8-01, 1:24.209, 7th: “It’s nice to be back in Q3. Maybe at the end, a top five finish might have been on the cards. However, we missed a little something in Q3, doing a two lap run, and with hindsight, maybe a one lap run with a lighter fuel load would have been better, but I am still happy with seventh. I dropped a wheel in the gravel at the second chicane which might have cost me some time. To have both cars in the top ten on merit on a dry track is a very good result. A wet or dry race? I am not too fussed, because I’m sure that if it does rain we will look pretty handy, and we are not too bad in the dry either. But for the fans, let’s hope for a dry race. It’s great driving here, because the crowd is so passionate about motor racing, even if most of them cheer for the red cars! The atmosphere is fantastic and, as an Italian team, I hope we can come away with some good points tomorrow.”
Jean-Eric Vergne, STR8-03, 1:28.050, 10th: “I have to thank the team for doing a great job to give me such a competitive car for this afternoon. We were not looking so good yesterday and all their efforts last night have paid off today in FP3 and qualifying. I pushed to the limit on my final run in Q3 and just got out of shape, going off into the gravel at the Parabolica corner. It’s a shame, but I am pleased with P10. There is a big risk of rain tomorrow which could make life interesting, but clearly starting tenth, a significant number of points must be our target and it’s a realistic one.”
James Key, Technical director: “Friday morning showed we could make the car work well at what is a special circuit, requiring a unique set-up. In FP2, we went slightly the wrong way, but we worked hard overnight to recover, so as to capitalise on the positive aspects while also looking to adapt to the hotter conditions for qualifying. FP3 also went well and we got the balance we wanted, especially on Jean-Eric’s car. After that, we were reasonably sure our car would perform at its best and then came a fantastic job in qualifying. Some of it came from the team of course, but much of the credit goes to the drivers and their disciplined approach to getting the best out of the tyres. The result was that we got both cars into Q3 on merit and it’s great to start P7 with Daniel. It was a shame for Jean-Eric who just ran slightly wide at the final Parabolica corner, otherwise he could have been in a similar position to his team-mate. It’s good to be running competitively again. Why the ‘in’ and the ‘out’ lap on both cars at the start of Q3? Simply to do a balance check on the old tyres before doing the final run on a new set, having made some changes after Q2.”