Scuderia Toro Rosso enjoyed one of their best qualifying performances of the season in Russia, with both Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne making it through to the final segment of qualifying at Sochi.
Kvyat qualified a career best fifth on the grid in front of his home fans, and was delighted to prove the promising pace from Friday was genuine. He hopes the race is just as profitable, and is aiming for at least matching his qualifying performance on Sunday.
“It feels great securing P5 in today’s qualifying here in my home country,” said Kvyat. “It was already looking quite promising yesterday, so I’m very happy we could put it all together and achieve my best ever Qualifying result today.
“The car felt very good and everything worked out well, so well done to the team. I will do my best in tomorrow’s race and I will definitely aim to finish the race at least in fifth position.”
Despite also reaching the final part of qualifying, team-mate Vergne was disappointed with his result as he felt something was amiss with his car during the final segment. He hopes to have a good race and challenge for a good haul of points on Sunday.
“I was extremely slow today and I don’t know why,” said Vergne after Q3. “I lost time everywhere around the track and I’m wondering if there was a problem somewhere, which did not allow me to get the best out of the car. We will have a look at all the data, trying to understand what happened and be quicker again tomorrow.”
Chief Race Engineer Phil Charles praised both his team and the drivers for their performance during qualifying, and was excited to see both Kvyat and Vergne make it through to the final part of the session, although he felt the Frenchman deserved to be higher in the field than ninth after feeling something ‘strange’ happened to his car.
“We are clearly very pleased, both drivers in Q3 is great, especially on a new track, and the team work well to put the set up together,” said Charles. “Daniil has done an absolutely superb job throughout the three qualifying sessions, where he kept improving, using his head, refining his driving each lap and learning from the lap before. He was able to extract a little bit more each time and get better and better and that was the secret for him.
“As for JEV, he’s been unlucky, as something a little bit strange occurred during his Q3 and he could not manage to match his Q2 time. We will have some work to do tonight, as we need to understand what happened exactly. I feel sorry for him as he was looking really good and he would have deserved a better result today.”