A black and white day for Scuderia Toro Rosso today in Bahrain at the Sakhir Circuit with one car failing to get out from Q1 and with the other conquering a well deserved P6 in Q3.
The team was confident after a disappointing Chinese race that they have understood the reason why the STR7 was slow and back at the factory in Faenza the engineers have made a plan to solve that. After implementing some of the solutions both drivers gave positive feedback and the team was optimistic about getting a good result in qualifying but the things did not go according to plan and while Daniel Ricciardo managed to get to Q3 and and get the 6th position, Jean-Eric Vergne failed once again to get out of Q1 and he also received a reprimand for not stopping at the weighbridge after his qualifying. He explained his situation to the stewards and they decided that this time he will only receive a simple warning and will not be excluded from the race.
Here are some selected quotes from the drivers and team’s Chief Engineer:
Daniel Ricciardo: “It feels very good and I am very happy with that result. We had a below average week in China with some updates we brought. We persisted with them and we made them work significantly better here, which is down to the hard work of the whole team. My communication with the team was also very good and it has helped us get into Q3. I was happy with my driving and I got better and better in each of the sessions. It’s not always you have a day like this, so I can enjoy the moment, bearing in mind that it’s tomorrow that counts. Now we have to put it all together for the race and tonight we will be looking at all our strategy options regarding tyres. It helps to go into a race feeling confidence and starting from sixth, I have to focus on scoring as many points as possible, as this is the best chance we have had so far. I hope I am still smiling tomorrow evening.”
Jean-Eric Vergne: “I do not understand why I was so slow this afternoon, especially as the car was going well this morning and as can be seen from Daniel’s impressive performance. Well done to him. I am keen to get back to the engineers to look at the data and find out why I could not deliver the performance I was hoping for. The track was three degrees warmer this afternoon than in the morning, but I don’t think it was down to that. I’ve started from the lower half of the grid before and then managed to have a good race, so given that I think the car has the potential, that is what I plan to do tomorrow.”
Laurent Mekies (Chief Engineer): “The most positive aspect of today is that we seem to have understood the reasons why we were quite slow last week in China. We came here with a few possible solutions and it seems to have delivered reasonable results. Today, if you look at the qualifying times, we have mixed feelings: Daniel has secured a fantastic result after driving very well all weekend, making no mistakes. However, it did not go our way with Jean-Eric, but hopefully we can work together to deliver something better tomorrow, as he has already produced some good races from low down the grid. Daniel will have a very tough fight up there, but whatever happens, it was important to put last weekend behind us. Finally, a big thank you to everyone, here at the track, at the factory in Faenza and the wind tunnel in Bicester: we are coming to the end of a long and intense four race stint and it is good to see that all the hard work from everyone has delivered such a positive result today.”
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