Jean-Eric Vergne is preparing to attack in his pursuit of points in the Belgian Grand Prix. The French rookie avoided Q1 elimination this time and made it up to fifteenth, outqualifying Toro Rosso teammate Daniel Ricciardo, but admits he’ll need to take some chances to secure a top ten finish tomorrow.
“I think that was a solid performance for me and the team today. We know where we are compared to the others, therefore even after a long break, we didn’t expect to suddenly find ourselves in Q3. I think, personally, I did a good job. I have struggled a bit with qualifying since the start of the year, but race by race I have made progress and today, to finish ahead of my team-mate, shows that I am getting better at it. However, I made a couple of mistakes on my fast lap, so maybe I could have been a bit quicker. We plan to be aggressive tomorrow and grab any opportunity that comes our way on track. I would really like to bring home some points, but that might be rather difficult.”
Ricciardo was disappointed with his performance, particularly after failing to make any great improvements on his Q1 time, but is optimistic about the STR7’s competitiveness in the race.
“I don’t think I got the best lap I could in Q2, because I’d done the same time in Q1. Normally you go quicker in Q2 and I was hoping to find more time but I did not manage it. Therefore I had hopes to be higher than sixteenth. But I am still in a positive frame of mind for the race. I have a feeling we can do better tomorrow afternoon as at times today, our pace showed signs of promise.”
Chief Engineer Laurent Mekies was pleased with the ease at which both drivers advanced from the first knockout session and feels they have closed slightly on the midfield pack.
“It is encouraging that we have got both cars into Q2 reasonably comfortably. This was because our two drivers worked well in this morning’s free practice and therefore they were immediately on the pace in Q1. Fifteenth place is realistically about the best we could have expected and a fair reflection of our current performance level, even if we could maybe have found a few more fractions of a second. It seems that the gap to our direct competitors might have closed a little bit, but this remains to be confirmed in the race. We got through a lot of work this morning, but like everyone we have had little running in the dry so far this weekend. That means we can expect a very interesting race, as always in fact at Spa, with maybe a few surprises to come from the relative lack of knowledge relating to the tyre compounds.”