Toro Rosso drivers Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi are pinning their race hopes on brand new super-soft tyres after the decision to save them in qualifying left them in 16th and 18th respectively.
Alguersuari managed to ease through into Q2 but couldn't get any further, with his best lap of 1:22.979 was three quarters of a second away from the pace needed to get into the top-ten shootout and the Spaniard admitted that 16th was the best he could have achieved given the strategy the team had chosen.
“I think I did the maximum I could today, given that we were saving the tyres for the race. I believe our car set-up for the race can be very effective, therefore I am confident for tomorrow. I don't know if points will be possible, but let's see how the race evolves. Anything can happen tomorrow, with seventy laps and many different strategies, so I hope that ours is the one that pays off!”
Buemi entered the qualifying session already on the back foot due to the five-place grid penalty he received for causing a collision with Nick Heidfeld last weekend. The Swiss driver ran exclusively on the prime tyre which prevented him from advancing into Q2, losing out in the dying seconds to Pastor Maldonado.
Buemi believes tyre degradation will be crucial tomorrow and hopes his greater allocation of fresh Pirellis will help him move forward in tomorrow's race.
“The fact I have a five place grid penalty carried over from last Sunday's race at the Nurburgring conditioned our approach to this afternoon's qualifying session. We chose not to use any Super Soft tyres today, deciding to save them for tomorrow, which means I have three new sets of them for the race. With high tyre degradation at this track, that will be an important factor and I hope it will allow me to work my way up the order. There is a big difference between tyres that are completely new and those that have done even just a few laps, therefore the key will be to try and overtake cars as soon as possible.”
Technical Director Giorgio Ascanelli has admitted that a lot will rest on strategy tomorrow, with the Hungaroring a notoriously difficult circuit to overtake on.
“Jaime did a good job, even allowing for the fact that we gained one place as Maldonado did not go out in Q2. He looked quite close to those ahead of him in Q1, running first the Prime then the Option, but then the gap was re-established in Q2, when he made a single run on the Option. With Buemi, given his five place penalty, we opted to ignore grid position and concentrate on saving tyres for the race, which is what we have done. He only ran on the Prime tyre this afternoon which gives him three new sets of Option for the race.”
“Normally, we say we look better in terms of our race pace than in qualifying and yesterday when we ran in both conditions in free practice that was the case. However, we did not get it quite right on low fuel, therefore it is hard to be sure what is the situation at this type of track. Overtaking is difficult here, so we will have to be creative with our strategy and try and make the tyres last.”