Toro Rosso had a tough qualifying session in Valencia today, with their cars claiming only seventeenth and eighteenth spots on the grid.
Jaime Alguersuari failed to make it out of Q1 for the third consecutive race; something he blamed on his lack of running in yesterday’s practice sessions.
“That was a difficult qualifying for me, not helped by the fact I was unable to drive in Free Practice 2 yesterday, which meant I was lacking data on the tyres, which is critical here because there is a big lap time difference between the Prime and the Option,” said the Spaniard. “On my first lap, which was always going to produce the best performance from the tyres, I got big traffic so could not do a good time. I tried again on the second lap but I was getting a lot of oversteer as the tyres were not at their best anymore.
“It's a pity, as I would naturally want to do better, but at least we only used one set of tyres which leaves us in good shape for the race from a tyre point of view.”
Buemi did make it through to Q2, but will still start on the same row as his team-mate in tomorrow’s race. He said that his session was disrupted by the red flag that resulted from Pastor Maldonado‘s mechanical issues, but is glad to have saved some tyres.
“I had a tough time in Q2,” said the Swiss driver. “In the first session, I had a very good lap, lying P10 so everything was looking good as we were ahead of our main competitors. Then, in Q2, we waited quite a long time and, just as we were planning to go out on track, the red flag stopped the session and that changed our plan a bit.
At the end, I found myself with a two tenths gap, losing the time in the final sector, which represented four places. I am disappointed, but I am still looking forward to tomorrow, because at least we have managed to save a few sets of tyres which will help us in the race.”
Technical director Giorgio Ascanelli managed to draw a few positives from the session, but admits that mistakes were made today. “We did not get it right this afternoon,” he said. “Seb did not improve on his run in Q2. We chose an aggressive strategy in terms of the tyres, going for a single run in each session, because we expect it will be even hotter tomorrow and we wanted to use just the two sets of tyres per driver. Seb had a completely traffic-free lap at the end of Q2 and he did not make the most of it.
“In Jaime's case, the whole weekend has been a struggle, for reasons not of his making: yesterday we had a problem we could not solve in time to get him out for FP2 and today, I would say we let him out on track 30 seconds too late. He then found traffic on his first lap and that was it.
“If you look at the gap to our usual competitors, apart from Sutil who did a good job, I think we are pretty much on their pace with a much smaller gap to the others than we had here last year.
“The new components we brought here look promising, even if we did not get the best out of them. I think we need more track time to get the most out of these updates. We cannot be happy with our qualifying positions, but I would not say it is a drama.”