Troubled day for Vergne as Kvyat hits the top ten

Daniil Kvyat finished both Friday free practice sessions inside the top ten at Suzuka, but issues blighted his Scuderia Toro Rosso team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne’s day.

After stepping aside to allow Max Verstappen to run in free practice one, Vergne watched as an engine failure during the opening session for the Dutchman necessitated a quick change of engine in between sessions, and on his initial out lap the Frenchman was forced to pull over at turn seven that was related to that engine change.

His car was rescued to the pits during the session, and the team were able to get him out on track, but the Frenchman stopped on track again at the end of the session with another mechanical issue that saw the red flags fly and the session ended early.

“Definitely a difficult Friday, with very little running,” said Vergne. “It didn’t help not having driven FP1, but I have to say Max did some good work with the car this morning. In the afternoon I had a few issues that did not allow me to run as much as I would have liked.

“We have to investigate and understand what the problems were in order to find a good solution. On the positive side, we have a good base to work on, so I’m confident we can put together a better car for tomorrow.”

Team-mate Kvyat had a better day, finishing in the top ten in both sessions on his first visit to the Japanese circuit. The young Russian finished tenth in the morning session before improving to ninth in the afternoon but admitted the balance of his car was not to his liking and he will be addressing that with his mechanics overnight.

“It was a tough day, but I enjoyed finally driving here in Suzuka and I was able to learn the track quite well,” admitted Kvyat. “I struggled a bit with the car balance today, so there is still some work for us to do overnight. But I’m confident we can improve the car for tomorrow and hopefully we can get the most out of the car for Saturday’s Qualifying and Sunday’s race.”