Jean-Eric Vergne should by rights be walking onto the starting grid today at the Circuit de Catalunya
in Barcelona with a bit of a spring to his step.
"From a personal point of view, I feel I did a better job than I have done in the other sessions this year," he said after qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix
in 15th place. "For the first time this year, I have out-qualified my team-mate."
But despite those positive signs on Saturday, there's a definite sense of frustration building for Vergne.
"I have mixed feelings," he admitted. "I think we were lacking something from the car side. Everyone in the team has worked hard to bring updates for this race, but the others have done the same and apparently a bit more than us. We still have some work do to.
"On the positive side, we improved the car from [Friday]," he said. "Our pace over a long run is pretty good, so we will have to see what happens [in the race]. I don't feel it is too unrealistic to try and aim for some points."
His team mate Daniel Ricciardo will start one place behind him on the grid for the Grand Prix, and admitted that Saturday's qualifying "was not an ideal session for me" as the team had failed to get on top of balance issues with the Toro Rosso.
"I felt we were trying to chase a better balance front and rear on the car and although we made a substantial change overnight, it did not have as much of an effect as we had hoped for in terms of lap time or feeling in the car," he said.
"In Bahrain I had a great Saturday and a poor Sunday, so let's hope it's the other way round this time," he added. "I'm just focussed on having as good a race as possible."
Toro Rosso's chief engineer Laurent Mekies said that he was expecting a "tight fight in the midfield" but was hopeful for a good showing for the team come the start.
"As far as the race is concerned, we have managed to produce something even from lower down the grid," he said. "Hopefully we can pick up a bit of pace and deliver a good performance."