Scuderia Toro Rosso man Sebastien Buemi secured his best grid slot of the F1 2010 season Saturday in qualifying for the European Grand Prix at Valencia in Spain.
Buemi only finished 16th fastest in Q1, however the Swiss driver was right on the cusp in Q2 and in the end finished eleventh, on a 1 minute 38.586 seconds, just 0.034 seconds off Vitaly Petrov, the last runner to make it into the top-ten shoot-out.
Speaking after though, Buemi revealed that he had mixed feelings, as he felt he had been impeded by the Williams of Rubens Barrichello on his final lap.
“It's my best qualifying result of the season and I did not expect to do so well before the start of the session, which is a reason to be pleased,” Buemi said. “On the other hand though, I am a bit disappointed because Barrichello was ahead of me going into the final corner on my last flying lap and he really slowed me down. He was on his slowing down lap, but it cost me two tenths which should have seen me finish higher than eleventh.
“To be honest, I'm not sure why the car worked so well today, because we have not changed anything since Canada. It proves the team is doing a fine job. It's good to start from further up the grid than usual, right in the middle of the pack, which means I have every chance of having a good race tomorrow, even if it will be very difficult to overtake.”
Team-mate Jaime Alguersuari didn't go as well however, and after just making it through Q1, he was only 17th fastest in Q2, his best time a 1m 39.458s, almost a second off Buemi.
“I'm not sure what happened as we seemed to lack pace this afternoon,” said Alguersuari. “I tried to push as hard as possible, but the speed did not come, so we will need to look at the data to understand what went on.
“Maybe my tyre pressures were a bit too low and I struggled especially on the soft tyres, maybe I did not have quite the right feeling from the brakes, which are very important here but for whatever reason I was very slow. Today, my team-mate did a better job than me, so we will have to try and improve in order to catch up in the race tomorrow.”
Toro Rosso technical director Giorgio Ascanelli added: “The times were very close this afternoon and Sebastien had a particularly good qualifying session, although there is some feeling of regret because he could have done slightly better than eleventh place, if he had not been held up by traffic towards the end of his last flying lap. What I am particularly pleased about is that, on his final run in Q2, Seb decided to go for a single flying lap to gain the advantage of carrying less fuel weight and it paid off, which was the right way to do it.
“Jaime, who went for two timed laps on both his Q2 runs, also had a bit of a traffic problem and so he did not get it quite right today. As for tomorrow's race, free practice demonstrated that we appear to have a good pace over a long run, which is encouraging.”