Toro Rosso Honda are in position to show that they can fight for points in the United States Grand Prix in Austin.
Pierre Gasly made it into Q3 for the third race running and will start from tenth position. The French has been very impressed with how the STR14 has performed over the weekend but expects the fight between him, Renault F1 Team and McLaren F1 Team to be fierce in the Grand Prix.
“I’ve felt strong in the car this weekend and we were in the top 10 in all of the sessions, it felt good as I could push the way I want,” Gasly said.
“We’ve made it into Q3 for three races in a row, so we can be pleased with that. I’m satisfied with the performance today, and I like the way the team is working together. Tomorrow is the day that counts and hopefully we can continue the run of points to help us in the Constructors’ Championship.
“Our race pace on Friday was good, but the McLarens are fast and the Renaults look strong, so I’m expecting a very tight battle tomorrow! Starting on the soft compound is clearly not ideal as it’s a similar story to Mexico, but I think if we have a strong first stint we can look at scoring some points.”
Daniil Kvyat was not as lucky as his team-mate. The Russian would have qualified eleventh but his best time in Q2 was deleted for exceeding track limits at Turn Nineteen, losing two places to Nico Hülkenberg and Kevin Magnussen.
The Russian will be aiming to make a charge through the field, secure in the knowledge that he will have a free-choice of tyre to start the race on.
“The whole weekend I was struggling with the car, but when we got to Q2 the car felt more alive and I started to understand what the car needed to improve,” Kvyat shared.
“I’m happy with the laps I did in Q2 as it was a good recovery from a tough weekend so far, it’s a nice confidence boost to be able to find good pace when it mattered most. It’s a shame my last lap got deleted as I only went off track by the smallest of margins, but rules are rules.
“We will do our best from P13 tomorrow and I think it can be a very strong race. I’ve always felt better on Sunday’s this year, so I hope I can extract some good pace out of the car tomorrow.”
Technical Director Jody Egginton was impressed with how “productive” it has been from the Italian team over the course of the weekend, particularly with Gasly’s pace during qualifying.
“Following a productive Friday, Saturday – although a bit tighter in terms of lap time spread across the midfield – has pretty much gone to plan for Pierre, with Q1 being navigated without any problem and the first run in Q2 being enough to get into Q3. Finishing P10 is a good result,” Egginton added.
“Dany’s Qualifying session was shaping up OK. However, his best Q2 time was deleted for exceeding track limits at Turn 19, which means he was demoted from P11 to P13. The focus now switches to ensuring that we are well prepared for tomorrow’s race in order to maximize our opportunities in what we expect to be another exciting midfield battle.”
Honda F1 Technical Director Toyoharu Tanabe was once again pleased with the pace of Toro Rosso, along with Red Bull Racing, as he knows that “overtaking is possible” at the Circuit of the Americas.
“Verstappen, Albon and Gasly have shown good pace all weekend, to qualify third, sixth and tenth respectively. Kvyat starts from 13th on the grid and he can still finish in the points from there,” Tanabe said.
“Looking at the qualifying times, it looks very close throughout the field and both our teams have been very competitive. As overtaking is possible here we hope that all four cars will finish higher up the order than their starting positions.”