Pierre Gasly took his Toro Rosso STR14 to seventh place in qualifying ahead of the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix and will start the race from sixth place following a grid penalty for Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
“I’m really happy with how Qualifying went today!” said the excited Frenchman. “I’d like to pass on a massive thanks to the team for giving me a competitive car. It feels like pole position for us today as seventh in the midfield is the best we can expect.
“We knew it was going to be a tight Qualifying, so it feels great to get my fourth Q3 in a row. I felt good in the car all weekend, now we need to stay focussed for tomorrow and finish the job by scoring as many points as possible in the race.”
For teammate Daniil Kvyat it was a different story as he missed out on making it passed the first session in qualifying.
After finishing the final practice in seventh place it was looking promising for the Russian, unfortunately that pace could not be transferred into qualifying as he ended the day in sixteenth place.
“It’s just a shame today,” said Kvyat. “I was feeling really good in the car during Free Practice 3 this morning and I was positive going into Qualifying. Then in the afternoon, the car wasn’t in the right balance window anymore.
“On the second run I made a couple of mistakes which didn’t allow me to improve on my time, I’m not sure what happened, but I lost the rhythm and I couldn’t put everything together.
While the qualifying performance was far from expected, Kvyat is confident he can perform better in the main event, “My race pace is generally strong, and even if sixteenth isn’t ideal let’s see what we can do tomorrow.“
Claudio Balestri, Chief Engineer of Vehicle Performance added, “We went into Qualifying very well prepared but unfortunately, we were not able to get through to Q2 with Daniil, while with Pierre we extracted the maximum from our package, adapting the car to the changes in track conditions.
We were able to be the seventh quickest car in Q3 and now, due to Charles’ [Leclerc] penalty, we’ll start the race from sixth place, equalling our best grid position this year. We now need to do our best to maximize our opportunities to score points with both cars tomorrow, in what we expect to be a tight midfield battle.”
Honda F1 Technical Director Toyoharu Tanabe was happy to see three cars powered by his engines at the front-end of the grid.
“A brilliant result today! Max [Verstappen] was competitive all weekend and took his and our second pole position of the season. Alex [Albon] was also competitive to finish sixth on his first visit to this technically tricky track.
“Pierre Gasly ensured we have three Honda-powered cars in the top ten. Daniil was unlucky to make a small mistake and get no further than Q1, but his long run pace looks good, so everything is in place for us to have an excellent result tomorrow.
Tanabe was also quick to highlight the performance of Gasly over the last four qualifying sessions.
“It’s worth noting this was Pierre’s fourth consecutive top ten qualifying result. It will be a long race, over the 71 laps and we will now ensure we are as well prepared as possible in the hope of converting today’s strong performance into another one tomorrow.”