Daniel Ricciardo continued to show decent qualifying pace today in Abu Dhabi as he out-qualified not only HRT team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi but also Virgin Racing rookie Jerome D’Ambrosio.
The Australian qualified in P21, but will actually start one place higher after a penalty for Pastor Maldonado is implemented. Liuzzi will be two places behind him.
“I'm happy with today's performance as we were a little bit unsure coming in to qualifying,” said Ricciardo. “I always tried to stay positive and believed that I could put in the best performance possible but there were a few doubts with the set-up and free practice hadn't gone well since yesterday. But we got out there and the car was good,
“I felt I drove well and managed to clock my best time on my last lap. I had a really good first sector and in the second sector I lost a bit of time because Glock had to let me through so I could've maybe even finished above him without that incident. But I pushed as much as I could like I always do and I'm very happy to get a good result out of it”.
Liuzzi reveals that a broken suspension bracket actually hindered his performance, which should explain at least some of the half-second time deficit to his team-mate today.
“The result in qualifying was a shame because we'd had a good weekend up until qualifying,” said the Italian. “After my second run we suffered a broken suspension bracket and the car had massive understeering on left hand turns but I tried to continue doing some laps so that we could try and understand what the problem was exactly.
“The car wasn't fast at all and very unbalanced and that is why we were so far behind. It's a pity because this is a track where we could have achieved our best performance in qualifying this season. But we can still be competitive in tomorrow's race if we fix it; tomorrow is another day”.
Colin Kolles insisted that the pace of both cars is good, and is hoping for a strong result in tomorrow’s race. “This morning we had a trouble-free session which allowed us to complete the programme and prepare for qualifying,” said the HRT team principal. “The afternoon qualifying session started quite well too, but Tonio had an issue on the front suspension which has to be investigated and that prevented him to pull out a perfect lap in the end.
“Daniel was ahead of both Virgins but lost a couple of tenths on the second sector that left him right behind Glock. Nevertheless, the pace that both drivers showed over the different sessions is good and there is almost no difference to our direct rivals.
“Tomorrow, if we all do our best and stay focused from the beginning to the end, I am confident that we can get a good result for the team that would allow us to finish the season on high spirits”.