Toro Rosso said that their qualifying performance in Korea today was reasonable compared to their main rivals at Force India, Sauber and Williams.
Jaime Alguersuari got the better of his more experienced teammate Sebastien Buemi as the Red Bull sister-team claimed P16 and P17 on the grid in Yeongam.
“We can be reasonably satisfied with this result because it is so easy to gain or lose tenths here because the track has so many corners,” said Alguersuari. “As we come towards the final part of the season, I must say thanks to my race engineer, who has developed a very good understanding of what I need and his decisions are nearly always right. That meant I was very happy with the balance of the car and I think I got the most I could out of the soft tyres.
“We did a good job in improving the car from yesterday and I think we can therefore expect further improvement in the race.”
Buemi was unhappy to be beaten by his teammate, and knows that he should have set a better lap time. “I have to say I am not happy with my performance,” said the Swiss driver. “In Q2 on my last run, we opted to go for just one flying lap, to run with less fuel in the car, but I did not get the best of laps, making a few small mistakes which, put together, cost me a lot of time. Jaime did a really strong lap so congratulations to him for that.
“We need to work hard now to prepare for tomorrow, when we can face a long race in which anything could be possible. Jaime's performance shows we are not that far from those just in front of us in terms of pace so let's wait and see.
“We were not expected to get into the points in Suzuka but we did and who knows, it might happen again here.”
Chief Engineer Laurent Mekies said that the performance of the STR5 was improving as the weekend progressed, and that the team are optimistic for a decent result tomorrow. “Our overall performance compared to our main competitors was not too bad, as we are relatively close in terms of lap times to the best Force India, Sauber and also Williams,” he explained. “The truth is that you have six cars in two tenths and we were at the bottom of that group. Therefore today, two or three tenths have proved very expensive.
“Overall we have improved our performance since the start of the weekend and hopefully we can take another step forward for the race. We can expect the first Korean Grand Prix to be full of surprises with those walls and the decent overtaking opportunities so hopefully it will be a good show.”