Toro Rosso will be hopeful of adding to their overall tally of 31 points this weekend in Singapore, following another impressive qualifying performance by the Faenza-based squad.
While the team failed to match the heights of Monza, when both cars made it into Q3, Daniel Ricciardo did manage to progress into the final session of qualifying for a second consecutive time.
The Australian, who scored points for the fifth time in 2013 two weeks ago in Italy, was ultimately left wanting more from qualifying, despite finishing as 9th fastest overall.
“That was not an easy session and we had to work harder here to get to Q3 than we did in a few other races where we have managed it”, said the 24-year-old. “I was a bit disappointed not to get a little bit more time out of my lap in Q3, with Jenson a couple of tenths ahead and it would have been nice to get that. So I think ninth is pretty good all things considered.”
Ricciardo, who will be joined on the fifth row of the grid by Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez, declared that his only worry for the race are those cars behind him who will have one more set of tyres to call upon.
“As for the race, the guys who went out in Q2 might have a little bit of a tyre advantage, so let’s hope that doesn’t have too much influence tomorrow. We will race as hard as we can and hope to stay in the points.”
Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso stable-mate Jean-Eric Vergne will line-up a credible 12th on the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix, but the 23-year old was left feeling disappointed to have missed out on the top 10 by such a small margin.
“It was extremely close and it’s a shame I didn’t make it to Q3”, said the Frenchman. “On the positive side, we worked very well with the team to get a good car for qualifying and we missed out by the smallest margin, even though the car was responding well. But I think we can have a good car for the race.
“This is a tough track, with over 20 corners and getting each one of them right on a single lap is not so easy, from a driving point of view and also when it comes to setting up the car.
Despite the minor setback, Vergne remains confident that his first points finish since June’s Canadian Grand Prix could be on the cards around the tricky Marina Bay circuit.
“I am still optimistic for tomorrow and I believe that starting twelfth, scoring points is a realistic target. It was very tight this evening and one tenth of a second could have made all the difference and I think there were a couple of places where I could have found that tenth, so it’s a bit frustrating, but that’s it and tomorrow will be better.”
Toro Rosso’s Technical Director, James Key added that he was incredibly pleased to see his cars at the front of the ultra-tight midfield battle and was hopeful of a strong race after both Ricciardo and Vergne showed solid pace on the long-runs on Friday.
Image courtesy of RichlandF1