Sebastien Buemi put in his best qualifying performance of the season to secure eleventh spot on the Valencia grid, although his Toro Rosso teammate Jaime Alguersuari was unable to match that pace and qualified only seventeenth.
The Swiss driver believes a possible top ten grid slot was denied to him by traffic on his final qualifying lap. “It's my best qualifying result of the season and I did not expect to do so well before the start of the session, which is a reason to be pleased,” said Buemi.
“On the other hand, I am a bit disappointed because Barrichello was ahead of me going into the final corner on my last flying lap and he really slowed me down,” he added. “[Barrichello] was on his slowing down lap, but it cost me two tenths which should have seen me finish higher than eleventh.
“To be honest, I'm not sure why the car worked so well today, because we have not changed anything since Canada. It proves the team is doing a fine job. It's good to start from further up the grid than usual, right in the middle of the pack, which means I have every chance of having a good race, even if it will be very difficult to overtake.”
Alguersuari is aware that seventeenth place looks bad when his teammate is narrowly missing out on Q3, and the Spaniard is determined to find the reason for this disparity in performance.
“I'm not sure what happened as we seemed to lack pace this afternoon,” said Alguersuari. “I tried to push as hard as possible, but the speed did not come, so we will need to look at the data to understand what went on.
“Maybe my tyre pressures were a bit too low and I struggled especially on the soft tyres, maybe I did not have quite the right feeling from the brakes, which are very important here but for whatever reason I was very slow.
“Today, my team-mate did a better job than me, so we will have to try and improve in order to catch up in the race tomorrow.”
Giorgio Ascanelli, the Toro Rosso technical director, agreed that Buemi had a chance of a top ten grid slot, but was happy with the eleventh-place he actually secured. “The times were very close this afternoon and Sebastien had a particularly good qualifying session, although there is some feeling of regret because he could have done slightly better than eleventh place, if he had not been held up by traffic towards the end of his last flying lap,” he said.
“What I am particularly pleased about is that, on his final run in Q2, Seb decided to go for a single flying lap to gain the advantage of carrying less fuel weight and it paid off, which was the right way to do it.
“Jaime, who went for two timed laps on both his Q2 runs, also had a bit of a traffic problem and so he did not get it quite right today.
“As for tomorrow's race, free practice demonstrated that we appear to have a good pace over a long run, which is encouraging.”