The Toro Rosso duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne failed to impress during qualifying at the Monaco Grand Prix, ending the session in sixteenth and seventeenth place respectively.
Thanks to a penalty for Pastor Maldonado, both drivers will start one place higher than were they qualified, but the pair were clearly hoping to do better at this prestigious track.
“I enjoy this track a lot so I am disappointed with my qualifying position, because I thought I might have had a chance to do a bit better: top ten would have been optimistic but I had thought maybe twelfth was in reach,” said Ricciardo. “However, we didn't make that happen.
“I was relatively happy with the way I drove, but I did not manage to put all my best sector times together on one lap. I think I was overdriving at times and making a few mistakes. If I had managed the perfect lap, maybe that would have brought me a couple more tenths, but I was not good enough to go much further up the grid.
“It's tough to pass here, but we'll try our best for tomorrow. The opening lap will be a fine balance between keeping the car between the barriers and trying to make up some places. Who knows, maybe there will be some rain to help us out.”
Vergne clouted the barrier at the exit to the tunnel during Q2, which ended his qualifying session prematurely.
“I was expecting to do better, because my lap in Q1 was far from perfect and I thought I could put it all together for Q2 when we would have two runs, but my first one ended in the wall,” said the Frenchman. “I think I braked a bit on the bump at the exit to the tunnel and hit the outside wall, damaging the nose and also the right rear suspension, which is why I could not continue, even though I managed to drive slowly round to the pits. Let's see what we can do in the race, because anything can happen.
“Up until this afternoon's incident I felt quite good round here so I am still hopeful of having a good race tomorrow, maybe with a bit of rain to create some interesting situations.”
Toro Rosso Chief Engineer Laurent Mekies did not want to heap too much blame on Vergne for his crash, but knows that his drivers will have to make the most of any opportunities that come their way tomorrow.
“Overall, this has been a difficult Saturday for us and our grid positions mean we will have a challenging afternoon tomorrow,” he said. “However, as we know, the race here can often be unpredictable and we will have to fight very hard to make up some places relative to our main competitors ahead of us.
“As for Jean-Eric's qualifying accident, it is very difficult to blame our driver: this is his first time in Monaco in an F1 car and throughout free practice he made no mistakes. When a driver is pushing hard and trying to find the limit, sooner or later this sort of thing will happen. It's not a problem and everything will be fine with the car for tomorrow. He was unable to make his final run in Q2 because, even though he made it back to the garage, the right rear suspension was damaged.
“Starting where we are tomorrow with both cars, in what is usually an incident packed race, we will have to be inventive with our strategy and take any opportunity that comes our way.”