HRT managed to bring down their lap times by a significant margin between Friday and Saturday in Singapore, but it was not enough to lift Daniel Ricciardo and Vitantonio Liuzzi off the back of the grid in qualifying.
Nevertheless, Ricciardo was less than half a tenth off the time set by Virgin Racing driver Jerome D’Ambrosio. The Australian rookie was disappointed not to haul himself off the back row.
“I'm happy to see the gap much closer to the nearest rivals but it is a bit disappointing not to be in front after getting so close,” he said. “Nevertheless, it is a good step from yesterday. The main thing tonight is to eat, drink and sleep well in order to be in peak condition for the demands of tomorrow. I think tomorrow will be a long race and I'm pretty excited as it is going to be a real test for me”.
Liuzzi thinks that, had everything worked, HRT would be above Virgin Racing here. However, as the Italian describes, he knew he would be starting dead last whatever he managed to do in qualifying, thanks to the five-place grid penalty hanging over him from Monza.
“We knew beforehand that it would be a difficult track for our us since our car doesn't suit it very well but, overall, it wasn't too bad,” said Liuzzi. “What we did was to work on the balance and the traction to understand the car better. However, we still need to figure out why we lost a lot of pace in the third sector where we lost a lot of grip in the rear end with the new set of tyres. But we should be proud because we could've beaten our closest competitors if everything went fine.
“For me qualifying wasn't the most important thing after the penalty from Monza so I'm looking forward to tomorrow's race which will be very tough but I'm confident that we can battle with our nearest rivals after today's evidence”.
Team boss Colin Kolles explains that, once again, HRT are aiming for a double finish on race day. “Both Daniel and Tonio made the most of their first set of tyres in the qualifying session and were ahead of the Virgins,” he commented. “However, with the second set, they were unable to stay ahead although Daniel was only one tenth off D'Ambrosio. Tomorrow's race will be long and tough for the drivers and cars alike and we need to be prepared. I hope both cars can finish the race so that we can achieve our eighth double finish of the season”.