For the first time in 2020, Daniil Kvyat was able to outqualify Pierre Gasly, with the Russian set to line-up eleventh on the grid for the Belgian Grand Prix just ahead of his French team-mate.
The Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda driver was only 0.008 seconds off making it into the top ten shootout but Kvyat will be the first driver on the grid with a free choice of starting tyre, which he hopes will help him move forward on Sunday afternoon.
Rain is predicted at Spa-Francorchamps for the race, and if it does come, Kvyat knows that the team will need to stay on top of their game if they are to maximise their positions come the end of the day.
“I had strong laps all through Qualifying and I’ve been feeling better and better with the car since yesterday,” said Kvyat. “We made steps in the right direction with my engineering crew, so I’m happy with the progress we’ve made, especially from Friday to Saturday.
“I think we have a good chance to have a strong race tomorrow, so we’ll do our best to make it happen. It will be a long one and, as it often happens in Spa, the weather can play a part.
“If it rains it could definitely spice up the race, so we need to stay on top of our game in these conditions, as many things can happen, and we need to be there to take advantage.”
Gasly Rues Mistake That Denies Him Q3 Appearance
Team-mate Gasly was disappointed not to make it into the top ten shootout after a mistake on his final flying lap at the exit of the final chicane cost him enough time to see him end outside the bubble in twelfth.
The Frenchman admits he would prefer it to rain on Sunday, although come wet or dry he hopes to score at least some points for the team this weekend as he bids to move up from his current thirteenth place in the standings.
“I would have liked to make it to Q3 as there were only four one-hundredths of a second to Norris in P10,” said Gasly. “I didn’t nail the last chicane and had a poor exit, I tried to give it a bit more and lost traction which cost me a tenth.
“Still, we have a free tyre choice and we will fight from there. I would like it to rain tomorrow – I come from Normandy so we have rain pretty much every single day! We have a decent starting position in P12 and anything is possible from there, it’s super tight in the midfield as always, so I’ll push as hard as I can and hopefully we can get a few points.
“Actually, it’s ideal to start P11 and P12 because of the free tyre choice, but I wanted to be P11! However, Dany did a very good lap and I just had to do better today – I can only blame myself.”
“We will be looking to take advantage of any opportunity which might present itself” – Claudio Balestri
Claudio Balestri, the Chief Engineer of Vehicle Performance at AlphaTauri, says the changes made to the AT01 between Friday’s running and Saturday morning worked well, even if they weren’t enough to see at least one car make it into the top ten in Qualifying.
Balestri reckoned it was a shame that both Kvyat and Gasly missed out on Q3 by the narrowest of margins, but it gives the team more options when it comes to working out the strategy for the race, something he hopes will enable both drivers to score points on Sunday afternoon.
“Based on what we learnt on Friday, we modified our set-ups overnight to improve the car balance, which is always tricky on this track where we run with less downforce,” said Balestri. “The changes we made brought some improvement and this was evident in FP3, where we showed quite a good performance, especially on the Prime tyre.
“In preparation for qualifying, we made further changes to improve the balance on softer tyres. This afternoon, both drivers were able to easily make it to Q2, but we have missed Q3 by only a few hundredths of a second, which is a shame.
“Our focus now switches to preparations for the race and, with the qualifying positions providing us with some useful strategy options, we will be looking to take advantage of any opportunity which might present itself. We expect it to be an interesting race, especially if the rain comes.”