Daniil Kvyat felt finishing thirteenth in Q2 was not a true representation of the pace that Scuderia Toro Rosso has this weekend at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, with his final lap in the session being compromised by a number of cars ahead.
The Russian was caught out by drivers making mistakes and aborting their own laps ahead of him as he attacked for one last lap and still almost made it into the top ten, and Kvyat admits it was not an ideal scenario but one they can learn from in the future.
“Unfortunately, today wasn’t representative of our true pace,” said Kvyat. “On the last lap in Q2 we caught quite a few cars and it became quite messy.
“I had a lot of traffic on my lap, where cars ahead were making mistakes and aborting their runs, and even coping with that, I still almost made it to Q3. It’s a shame because I think we had Q3 within reach and we just made our life more difficult.
“We tried something different but it didn’t work, so it’s a good lesson for the future.”
Kvyat says the aim on Sunday is to move forward and fight for points, and if he finds the kind of pace that the STR14 had during the Belgian Grand Prix last weekend another top ten result is distinctly possible.
“It’s not going to be easy but we will try as always to get into the points tomorrow,” said Kvyat. “Our race pace didn’t look too bad yesterday and our package looks quite competitive here, so if we prepare well and have a race like we had in Spa we should hopefully be on for a good result, to make it up for today.”
Team-mate Pierre Gasly went into the Qualifying session knowing he would be starting towards the back of the grid thanks to the Frenchman coming into the weekend with a brand new Honda power unit, but the Frenchman was positive about his STR14 and feels he has a chance to move up from the rear of the field to fight for points as well.
“It’s been a positive Saturday for us,” admitted Gasly. “As we have the penalty this weekend, we focussed on the long run this morning, trying to get a good read with the car on high fuel.
“However, we decided to give it a go in Qualifying to see what we had. I felt really good in the car and we were quite competitive, finishing ninth-quickest at the time. In Q2 we fitted the used tyres from Q1 to get some laps in, as we knew we would start from the back of the grid.
“The car has been pretty good all weekend and we’ve shown good pace so, even with the penalty, I think we will have our chances in tomorrow’s race and I’m excited to see what we can do.”
Jonathan Eddolls, the Chief Race Engineer at Toro Rosso, admitted it was always going to be tight to get a car into Q3 at Monza, and a tow was always going to be needed by those in the midfield to advance. Unfortunately for the team, Kvyat’s final compromised lap prevented him from advancing, while Gasly used an old set of tyres in Q2 as the aim was to use the newer sets in the race.
“The track conditions were slightly different compared to those we had yesterday, so we had to modify the setup to try and maintain the competitiveness we showed yesterday,” said Eddolls. “We made several changes to the cars to adapt to the track, I think the FP3 performance shows that they were working well and the car was looking quite capable.
“We knew it would be tight to get into Q3, but there were signs it was possible if everything had gone to plan, although normally you would need a tow. Every session of today’s Qualifying was a challenge for every team. There were lots of cars on track in Q1 so it was difficult to get a good position, but we managed it, with both cars going through to Q2.
“Everything was going well but then we elected to deviate from the original plan trying to give Dany a bit of an extra hand to get into Q3. However, this didn’t work and we ended up P13, with Pierre P15. That was disappointing as I think Pierre had a car that could out-qualify Norris, and now we’ll start behind him on the grid, which is unfortunate.”
Eddolls says there were positives to take from free practice that should benefit them on race day as the pace over the long runs looked promising from both Kvyat and Gasly, so points are the target on Sunday.
“On the positive side, the car was showing good pace on the long runs so, even though we’re not starting where we wanted to be, let’s hope we will be able to repeat our strong performance from Spa last weekend,” concluded Eddolls.