All smiles at Toro Rosso after positive upgrades at Spain

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Toro Rosso enjoyed yet another strong qualifying performance for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, after the various upgrades for the Faenza-based outfit propelled them into a competitive grid position for the 66-lap race. Both Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo progressed through to Q2, and are aiming for a points finish in the race.

After a tough 2012 season for Toro Rosso, which saw them finish 9th in the Constructors’ Championship with only 26 points scored, the Italian outfit has enjoyed a strong start to the new season and are aiming for a further points haulage during tomorrow’s race. Already Toro Rosso has accumulated seven points in the opening four races, two more than Sauber and only 16 less than McLaren. Daniel Ricciardo in particular enjoyed an extremely competitive Chinese Grand Prix after progressing through to the top ten shootout, something the Australian ace just missed out on this weekend.

Like the majority of the teams up and down the paddock, Toro Rosso introduced a whole host of new upgrades to their Ferrari-powered STR8 this weekend in a bid to continue their competitive start to the season. Apart from minor balance issues for Daniel Ricciardo during Friday practice, the introduction of the new upgrades has been a successful process, enabling both drivers to enjoy a competitive qualifying session.

“I was pleased with the way the session went overall, particularly Q2 and I think we got the most we could out of the car.” Enthused Daniel Ricciardo, who qualified 11th. “While yesterday was a good day for us, this morning was nowhere near as positive, as I had problems with the balance on the car. So we had to play catch-up and this afternoon we managed to get it right. I was happy with my lap in Q2, even though you can’t help feeling a little bit disappointed to miss out on Q3 by such a small margin. But we are close and we can have a good race tomorrow. We have made progress and we are once again looking as competitive as we did in China.”

Despite the successful introduction of the upgrades this weekend, the team was initially skeptical as to whether all of the upgrades would work on their car. Jean-Eric Vergne in particular has been content with the car all weekend, which has enabled him to secure his best qualifying result of the season in 12th, just behind his Australian team-mate. With only one point so far scored this season, the Frenchman will be eager to begin adding to his tally, starting with a competitive result this weekend in Spain.

“We have made a good step forward which means we start the European part of the season with a stronger car, so that anything is possible tomorrow.” Explained Jean-Eric Vergne, “There are a lot of positives to take from this afternoon, starting with the fact my car’s set-up will be even better suited to race conditions than to qualifying. Twelfth is a good place to start and points should be on the agenda tomorrow.”

Toro Rosso has not recorded a double points finish since last year’s Korean Grand Prix, and will naturally be aiming to change that stat during tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix. The team has visibly improved over recent weeks, and could well begin causing headaches for the likes of McLaren and Force India should they continue to improve as this season progresses.

Picture Copyright © Octane Photographics

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