Sebastien Buemi did not complete a single lap during the final free practice session in Brazil this morning, but qualified fourteenth this afternoon ahead of both Sauber drivers, who are Toro Rosso‘s main rivals for the weekend.
Here at Interlagos the team are attempting to wrestle seventh place in the constructors’ championship from Sauber and, with Jaime Alguersuari also out-qualifying both of the white cars, they are in a good position to achieve this goal.
However, rain is forecast for the race tomorrow and, as Alguersuari acknowledges, anything could happen if the precipitation does materialise.
“P13 and P14 on the grid is not so bad for the team,” notes the Spaniard. “I am pleased to be ahead of Sauber on the grid, but the points are only given out tomorrow, when we can expect a chaotic race because it is meant to rain. The key in those conditions will be not to do anything stupid, nor take too many risks, stay calm and then finish the race. The track conditions have changed a lot even from this morning to this session, but if it rains that evolution won't continue and it should be an interesting race.”
Despite coming close to his team-mate today in qualifying, Buemi was not particularly pleased with how his session had gone. “I am not happy with the result, even if I feel I did the best I could this afternoon,” he said. “However, we did not have a good preparation for qualifying, as I was unable to run in the morning.
“Added to the fact I did not drive in FP1, because Jean-Eric (Vergne, the French rookie) was in my car on Friday morning, I've really had very few laps so far this weekend. We must learn from these mistakes to ensure we don't make them again. As for tomorrow's race, anything is possible, because I think our car is quite competitive, so I am hopeful of having a good afternoon.”
Chief engineer Laurent Mekies explained the problems that Buemi faced today, and praised both drivers for their efforts. “The day did not start well for us, as Sebastien was unable to complete a single timed lap in the morning, because of an hydraulic problem,” he said. “It meant that, in qualifying, he had to adapt immediately to quite a different car to the one he drove yesterday, because of the choices we made since then from a set-up point of view. He tried to get into a rhythm as quickly as possible, but with the field being so tight, everything matters and clearly he paid the price for us not having done a better job this morning.
Jaime's position is a fairly accurate indication of our level of competitiveness, as he is three thousandths of a second away from twelfth place, which is where the car belongs here today. He also did a good job so far this weekend in adapting to the car, as we changed his set-up quite a few times.
“The threat of rain which was falling two kilometres from the track added to the sense of urgency in the session, making it quite exciting. I think we are in a decent enough position to do a good job tomorrow, when it will be up to us to make it happen.”