Sebastien Buemi is confident he can do well in the F1 2011 Japanese Grand Prix after Scuderia Toro Rosso enjoyed a strong start to the weekend today in practice.
Buemi was eighth in the opening session, just 0.005 seconds off Felipe Massa's Ferrari, and while he slipped back a bit in FP2, he remained inside the top ten - his quickest lap of the day, a 1 minute 33.681 seconds.
Speaking after the session, he added that the latest modifications to the STR6 definitely seem to be having the desired effect.
“I think this is the first very nice, very smooth Friday we have had for a long time, maybe since Hungary, with no issues, no crashes, no rain,” remarked Buemi. “This meant we were able to get plenty done and have a good feeling for what the car could do and how the few new parts we brought here are working.
“It's a bit early to talk about car performance, but if you compare today to Singapore, where we were at the back of our group, today we seem to be ahead of all of them with the exception of [Vitaly] Petrov.
“The car is better suited to this type of track, but we still need to wait and see how qualifying goes tomorrow, as it will be a tight fight. However, I am confident we can have a good weekend.”
Team-mate Jaime Alguersuari was also happy and he was actually sixth in FP1, before dropping back to eleventh in the afternoon session.
“This was a good day's work and I feel we have made a step forward, which I hope we can confirm tomorrow with a good qualifying performance which would give us the sort of grid position from which to have a strong race,” Alguersuari continued.
“Our car definitely feels better at this type of track than the high downforce type like our last race in Singapore.
“We have found more pace and there is still more to come, so it looks quite promising at the moment.”