The Toro Rosso drivers were reasonably upbeat after qualifying in Abu Dhabi today, despite managing to get anywhere near the result they achieved in India a fortnight ago.
In Delhi, Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari started the race from ninth and tenth, but tomorrow it will be thirteenth and fifteenth. Given their uncompetitiveness yesterday, however, both drivers were reasonably pleased with that result.
“Overall, I am reasonably satisfied with my own performance, even if I am only thirteenth, one tenth of a second off eleventh place, which shows it was quite a difficult session,” said Buemi. “But I think that, in the cockpit I did a good job and unfortunately, the fact this track is much slower than those at the last three races has not suited us so well. Tomorrow's race will be tough and long and anything could happen and I will be looking to exploit any opportunity that comes my way and I should be able to fight with those cars directly in front of me on the grid.”
Alguersuari, like his team-mate, believes that he will be able to make up ground on his rivals in tomorrow’s race, and is still optimistic about scoring points.
“I am pleased that we managed to improve the car from the free practice session to qualifying and I believe we have made the right choices for the race in terms of downforce levels and other set-up tools,” said the Spaniard. “We are often more competitive in the race than in qualifying and I believe that will be the case tomorrow, more so than in recent races as this has not been the best track for us. But I do not think my grid position is that bad and I am convinced I can work my way up into a points position by the end of the night.”
Technical director Giorgio Ascanelli explains that this Yas Marina circuit does not suit the STR6 as well as other tracks on the calendar. “We are running at a track where car balance, which is our forte, is not so crucial, while braking and sheer grip is more important and we are not so good in these areas, although I should make it clear that is no reflection on [brake supplier] Brembo who is doing a good job for us,” he said.
“We struggled a bit in finding the best set up, however given the situation we found ourselves in yesterday, I would say we have made a step forward today. Overall therefore, these positions are not too disappointing.
“This is a case where we can apply the clichÃ© that we should be better in race trim than in qualifying: Sergio is a tenth ahead and Kobayashi is a tenth behind, so it should be an interesting and exciting battle tomorrow evening. Fortunately for Pirelli, but unfortunately for us, the tyre situation looks stable so I am not expecting any unusual developments on that front to come along and help us and make it more fun.”