Daniel Ricciardo amazed to progress to top ten shootout
Daniel Ricciardo has expressed amazement at managing to progress to the all-important top ten shootout for only the second time this season, which enabled the Australian driver to qualify a strong 10th for the race. Team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne managed even better for the Faenza-based outfit, qualifying 7th in the tricky conditions.
Despite an amazing qualifying performance from both Toro Rosso drivers, the duo actually endured a tough qualifying hour as they struggled greatly in the increasingly inclement weather conditions. Daniel Ricciardo feels as though luck played a large part in his rise through the order, as the 23-year-old never actually felt content in his car on the intermediate tyres. Although the duo managed to excel in the wet conditions, Ricciardo is actually hoping for dry weather conditions for the race as he feels he and team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne should be able to rise through the order during the race.
“The conditions were very difficult this afternoon, everything you can think of – wet, damp, greasy, oily…so we never really got going and we were quite lucky to make it into Q3 as I was never really comfortable or happy with the car on the intermediate tyre.” Explained Daniel Ricciardo, “I think there was an element of luck with me getting into the top ten today. If it’s dry tomorrow, I feel we can move forward up the order as I think that there are a few guys in front of us, who won’t have that pace in the dry so I’m definitely hoping the rain holds off tomorrow.”
Usually Jean-Eric Vergne prefers inclement weather conditions, however during qualifying even the Frenchman found himself struggling greatly behind the wheel of his Ferrari-powered STR8. Initially the Frenchman had serious doubts as to whether he would even progress out of Q1 at the start of the qualifying hour, however he eventually managed to secure his personal best qualifying performance in 7th. Although the 23-year-old was pleased with his qualifying performance, he understands that a tough race lies ahead of him.
“It was not an easy session and at one point I thought I wouldn’t even make it out of Q1!” Exclaimed Jean-Eric Vergne, “But we managed to improve a couple of things on the car and that helped. Generally, I feel comfortable in the wet, but that wasn’t the case today. The car wasn’t exceptional, but we got the most out of it I think. It’s my best ever F1 qualifying, but I’m not going to be jumping for joy over a seventh place, as there are no points given out on Saturday. We still have the main part of the job to do tomorrow, when I will be trying to at the very least maintain this position and even do better. It will be a difficult afternoon in very different conditions, but our long run pace was good yesterday so that’s a reason to be optimistic.”
Currently Toro Rosso sit 7th in the Drivers’ Championship with 12 points, only 25 points behind former Canadian Grand Prix winners McLaren. Should the Faenza-based outfit once again excel during tomorrow’s 70-lap race, then they could well find themselves ahead of the Woking-based outfit. However, there’s no denying that both Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo will find it extremely difficult during the race, with the likes of Kimi Raikkonen and Adrian Sutil within their midst on the grid.
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