Toro Rosso were one of the few teams that could have been forgiven for preferring Q2 to continue despite the heavy downpour, and not get red flagged as finally happened with a little over six minutes remaining in that session.

"It could have been a really good qualifying and it had been going well up until the red flag," signed Jean-Eric Vergne. "I was fourth at the time, but I knew it would restart with better track conditions and I would have to do it all over again."

Unfortunately he wasn't able to find the same opportunity in Q2 once the session restarted 90 minutes later: "I think maybe I could have been higher up the order except that I therefore missed the opportunity to do a second flying lap as the chequered flag came out.

"I am disappointed, as I feel I could have got into Q3 today," he added, revealing that the team had considered gambling on a run on the intermediate tyres before finally deciding to play safe with another run on the extreme wet tyres instead.

Even so, Vergne agreed that stopping the session had indeed been the right call in the circumstances. "The red flag was definitely the right decision as there was too much water for the tyres to clear."

Vergne's team mate Daniel Ricciardo had also been in with a chance of progressing through to Q3 before the rain and red flag hit Toro Rosso's campaign.

"Unfortunately, after the restart I didn't manage to get through to the top ten, where we had been before the red flag," he said. "I am sure I was affected by the yellow flag for Grosjean's spin on the last lap, because without it I would have have been into Q3."

Toro Rosso's chief engineer Laurent Mekies added: "Unfortunately, Jean-Eric missed the opportunity to start a second timed lap in this run by just a few seconds, which made his life difficult."

Now the pair's hopes rest on race conditions on Sunday being just as weather-hit as qualifying had been.

"If we have a wet race, which seems likely, I think we can do well tomorrow, when I will be racing hard," said Ricciardo, who made his F1 d?but at Silverstone exactly a year ago. "The car seems to work well in the wet, but starting in the mid field there will be a lot of spray to contend with, so there are pros and cons to racing in the rain."

"I hope we have a wet race tomorrow," agreed Verge. "Although I will be starting from the back, everything is possible in these conditions and I hope I can make the most of the fact our car is working well in the wet, to have a good race."

Despite finishing qualifying in 16th place, Vergne will have to start from the back row as a result of the double penalty he received for causing a seemingly intentional collision with Heikki Kovalainen during the European Grand Prix at Valencia.

"For Jean-Eric - who has a ten place penalty - it will be more difficult," conceded Mekies. "But we know that in the rain, anything can happen and grid positions can prove irrelevant."