Daniel Ricciardo still feels a points finish is possible in tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix despite qualifying down in sixteenth. The Australian will move up a place on the grid thanks to Michael Schumacher’s penalty and expects the STR7 to be a stronger car in race trim, giving him hope of sneaking into the top ten.
“Without taking the grid position into consideration, this afternoon’s session was great fun. Driving this circuit on low fuel and with the best tyre of the weekend- a new set of Options – is very enjoyable. Today, it was really just a fight between myself and Jean-Eric in Q2 because the others were a little bit too far out in front. However, it’s not too discouraging, because on the positive side, we have definitely made progress since yesterday and if we can find another step forward for tomorrow, then hopefully we can sneak into the points again.”
Teammate Jean-Eric Vergne had a tough afternoon though and was demoted three places for blocking Bruno Senna in Q1. With Schumacher also getting a penalty, Vergne will start nineteenth but the Frenchman was disappointed with the penalty, believing he did all he could to get out of Senna’s way.
“I’m not so happy with today’s qualifying as we have struggled to find the right balance on our car all weekend. For qualifying, maybe we went too far the other way in terms of set-up and when the balance is not right, you lose a lot of time in the high speed corners. But hopefully the race will be better tomorrow; it usually is. As for the incident with Senna, I was catching Glock on my flying lap and I had to slow because of that. I saw Bruno was coming very quickly and unfortunately he caught me at the chicane where there is not much room. But I knew I had to let him past and moved as much to the outside as I could, even though I knew I would not be in the best position to come out of the corner. After that, he slowed a lot and I had to pass him again on the straight, otherwise I would not have set a proper time.”