Daniel Ricciardo described his qualifying session at Monza today as ‘so-so’, after finishing fifteenth in the Toro Rosso. Team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne qualified seventeenth.
Both drivers will be promoted one place thanks to a grid penalty for Pastor Maldonado.
“This was a so-so qualifying,” said Ricciardo. “When you are fifteenth, you always think you could do a bit better. However, realistically, I don’t think we could have got to Q3 today, so we have to settle for this as Senna is around three tenths in front and even putting my best sector times together, I don’t believe it would have been good enough to match that.
“It’s some consolation not being right at the back of the Q2 section and now there’s the race to look forward to. It’s not been a bad day and with the set-up we have chosen I think we could be in a strong position to overtake other cars tomorrow. With a good race pace and two DRS zones, it should make for an interesting afternoon.
“The first corner here is always a bit of a lottery and from this part of the grid I might be able to profit from any delays to those at the front.”
Vergne revealed that he has been having problems finding a good balance in the car for much of the weekend. “Honestly, I have not felt comfortable in the car most of the weekend as we never really found the best set-up,” said the Frenchman. “Actually, qualifying was the best of all the sessions so far. On top of that, I am to blame for a small mistake on my quick lap which cost me about two tenths, after I went over a bump just as I was changing gear.
“On the plus side, we have made a good step forward with the car since yesterday, which maybe does not show in the times as they are all so close.”
Chief Engineer Laurent Mekies is happy with the progress the team have made since yesterday, and thinks the race should be even better.
“After analysing all the data last night and making changes to the car, in absolute terms, we made a step forward today,” he said. “On Friday we were not happy with car balance and made progress in that area, so that both Daniel and Jev were a bit happier with the car today. Although the performance did improve, it was not enough to get further up the order than fifteenth place, in what was a very evenly matched session.
“We did our homework regarding race preparation on Friday, so hopefully we can pick up a bit more pace tomorrow and combined with the fact the STR7 seems to show good top speed, that should allow us to enjoy some good battle out on track.”