Jean-Eric Vergne said that the accident he had in FP3 this morning, and the lack of running that resulted, was the main reason for his failure to out-qualify the two Caterham drivers today in Canada.
The Frenchman will start behind Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov in P20 tomorrow, six places behind Toro Rosso team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.
“My little mistake in FP3 cost me a lot,” said Vergne. “I didn't get any running this morning and then this afternoon, I never really got a clean lap, encountering a lot of traffic which is therefore very disappointing. On top of that, my car was quite different today to yesterday, so it was not the easiest thing to adapt to it in just a couple of laps in Q1.
“Even if the traffic would not have made a huge difference to my position on the grid, some cleaner laps would have allowed me to improve my performance and get a better feel for the car with this different set-up.
“As for the morning problem, I got a little bit on the grass which was wet from all last night's rain and the car just got away from me, but the guys worked well to get everything back together for qualifying.
“We always have a good car for the race, so let's wait and see how much ground we can make up tomorrow.”
Ricciardo was reasonably satisfied with his grid position, which is one place higher than where he has qualified at the last two grand prix.
“This result is not too bad, considering the pace we showed so far this weekend,” he said. “Fourteenth was probably about the best we could have done as there is a three tenths gap to thirteenth place. I managed to out-qualify some of our usual competitors, but fourteenth is not going to set the world on fire and we always want to do better. However, we can be satisfied with the way we improved the car over the two days, taking a step forward and hopefully we can make further progress tomorrow.”
Chief engineer Laurent Mekies praised Ricciardo for his efforts, and agreed with Vergne over what went wrong with his day in Montreal.
“Yet another very tight qualifying in which Daniel performed well,” was Mekies’ evaluation. “With such a close field, it's very easy to make mistakes and even if we benefited from a couple of other drivers getting it wrong, this is part of the game, so Daniel did well to keep out of trouble and get the most out of the car. Hopefully, it also means we are on the right path in terms of the development of our car.
“As for Jean-Eric, he paid the price for not running in the morning session, after his early off-track moment. Making his job even harder this afternoon was the fact we had made several changes to his car overnight and it is never easy to adapt to something new when your first time in the car is in Q1.
“The first part of qualifying was particularly busy as everyone found the tyres good enough to do a lot of laps and so it was not easy to find a clear lap. As ever, we can expect a very eventful race in Canada and, as we have seen that our race performance is frequently better than it is in qualifying, with such a tight field, this extra relative pace might allow us to fight for the mid-field honours tomorrow.”