Daniil Kvyat was pleased with the progress Scuderia Toro Rosso made ahead of Qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix as the Russian driver secured ninth place on the grid on Saturday.
Kvyat had been in and around the top ten in all three of the free practice sessions ahead of the qualifying hour and made the most of the improved pace of his STR14 for his second consecutive top ten appearance, having done the same in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix two weeks ago.
The Russian hopes for a much better race performance at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya than he ultimately managed at the Baku City Circuit, with Kvyat aiming for only his second top ten finish of the season to add to his tenth-place finish from the Australian Grand Prix in March.
“Today was a good day and I’m really happy with how Qualifying went,” said Kvyat. “Since the beginning of the year, we’ve made big progress in Qualifying and I’m very happy with my performance as well as the team’s.
“That’s two Q3 appearances in a row now, and one in Barcelona where Qualifying is important to show the car and driver’s capabilities. FP3 started off a bit difficult, but we were able to get everything together after understanding what both the car and I needed.
“The car was behaving really well today, so we’ll try and do our best for the race tomorrow.”
Team-mate Alexander Albon continues to seek his first top ten appearance of his Formula 1 career after finding himself eliminated from Qualifying at the second stage, with the Anglo-Thai driver finishing twelfth, although that will become eleventh once Daniel Ricciardo takes his grid penalty.
Albon felt he made too many mistakes to join Kvyat inside the top ten, but after being happy with his long-run pace in free practice, he has high hopes that with a free choice of starting tyre he can challenge for his third top ten result of the season on Sunday.
“Today I made too many mistakes to be honest,” said Albon. “We were looking quite strong the whole of Qualifying, but I just tried something a bit different into Turn 5 and pushed too much on the entry which led to a big snap on the exit.
“Since the tyres are sensitive, I was fighting the rest of the lap with the rear tyres and trying to keep them in the window, but I could tell they were sliding too much. It’s frustrating because I didn’t get the job done today.
“We knew we were in a fight for Q3, but Qualifying twelfth and starting P11 tomorrow, I’m still in a good position as our race pace from yesterday looks quite good.”