Daniil Kvyat does not believe he could have done anything more during Qualifying for the German Grand Prix on Saturday, with the Russian set to start the race from fourteenth on the grid.
The Scuderia Toro Rosso driver made a mistake on his final flying lap that prevented him from improving his time but he feels the time he lost in that mistake was only a proportion of the time he would have needed to find to break into the top ten.
“It was quite close in the midfield today and honestly I don’t think there was much more I could have done,” admitted Kvyat. “I went a little bit wide in the last sector which cost me around a tenth, but the cars ahead were maybe three-tenths of a second down the road.”
Kvyat says they need to understand just why they were not as competitive as they would have liked in Qualifying conditions, but turning his attention to the race, he hopes to be able to move forward and fight for points, particularly if the promised rain does arrive at the Hockenheimring.
“However, in these conditions and on this track, we weren’t as competitive compared to our direct opponents, so we need to analyse why and learn from it,” said Kvyat. “Thinking of the race, which is what counts, the weather could play a part as it might be quite different to today.
“If it rains, I think it might mix up the cards a bit, I’ll work hard to get into the points.”
Team-mate Alexander Albon was eliminated in the opening segment of Qualifying and will start down in seventeenth, with the Thai driver admitting he was too close behind McLaren F1 Team racer Lando Norris at the beginning of his final flying lap attempt.
The time he lost behind Norris cost him significant amount of time, meaning he was also unable to improve on his earlier effort, and he feels seventeenth is probably too low for the potential of the car, something he is looking to address on Sunday.
“Q2 was definitely on the cards today,” said Albon. “Maybe we didn’t have the outright pace, but we were definitely quicker than P17, so it’s quite a frustrating result.
“I started my lap half a second behind Lando, he didn’t block me but it’s just how the track is as everyone was bunched up in the last sector, it was just chaos. I was right on Lando’s gearbox and there was nothing we could do, it was just one of those things.
“There’s more potential for the race tomorrow, so we will see what we can do.”
Toro Rosso broke curfew on Friday night to give Albon a new chassis, with Guillaume Dezoteux, the Head of Vehicle Performance, saying it gave the Thai driver more confidence behind the wheel of the STR14. However, he was disappointed to see him eliminated in Q1 after his traffic issues.
“Alex was a lot happier with the balance during this morning’s session but, unfortunately, after a difficult first attempt during which Alex found a car which was more difficult to drive, Qualifying was compromised by traffic on his second run,” said Dezoteux.
“He finished the qualifying session in seventeenth position, which is very disappointing.”
Toro Rosso were one of only two teams, alongside the struggling Williams Racing team, not to make it into the top ten shootout at the Hockenheimring, and even with Kvyat’s mistake, Dezoteux felt they did not have the performance level in the car to give either driver an opportunity to advance.
“Regarding Daniil, FP3 was tricky and he worked well with his engineers to improve the balance and consistency of the car,” said Dezoteux. “The changes made were in the right direction and he was happier with the car at the start of Qualifying.
“During Q2, he was in the fight with the cars ahead to make it through but a mistake in the last sector meant he didn’t improve and he ended up fourteenth. It was very tight today and we didn’t have the car to get comfortably into the top ten.”
Turning his attention to race day, Dezoteux feels variable weather could give the team opportunities to move forward, with plans being made to attack the cars ahead of them with aggressive strategy calls.
“As for the race tomorrow, the weather looks very variable,” admits Dezoteux. “It can create interesting opportunities and we will review all the scenarios tonight to come up with aggressive options and try to attack the cars ahead.”