Red Bull might have been locked out of the front row for the Spanish Grand Prix
by a dominant display from Mercedes, but team principal Christian Horner reckons that it just made for an enticing prospect for race day with everything to play for,
"A very interesting qualifying," he said after the chequered flag came out. "With the two Mercedes ahead of us and Kimi and Fernando behind it makes a fascinating grid for tomorrow's race."
Horner was far from disappointed with the performance of star driver Sebastian Vettel, who exceeded the team's expectations by blasting his way to third place on the grid.
"Sebastian put in a phenomenal lap at the end of Q3 to line up third on the grid, which was beyond what we expected after Q1 and Q2," said Horner.
“I was pretty happy with the last sector, as historically it's been a bit weak for me," agreed Vettel. "Now - finally, after the last couple of years - I understand the last few corners a little better.
"I'm quite happy as yesterday and this morning I wasn't too comfortable, particularly in the last sector, but we improved the car," he elaborated. "We had a pretty smooth qualifying session, we took a slightly different approach to some others using option tyres only – whether that helps us tomorrow we'll have to wait and see, but it will be an interesting race and a lot will be about tyre degradation."
There was less good cheer for Mark Webber, who had to settle for eighth place at the end of a qualifying session that saw him held up by Ferrari's Felipe Massa. Webber was boosted a spot when Massa subsequently received a three-place grid penalty for Sunday's race for impeding the Red Bull.
"Qualifying went well today apart from Q3," said Webber. "I was disappointed with the lap in Q3 and lost a lot of time in the last sector; I'm normally quite strong there, but I was in trouble with the rears.
"It's a sensitive game these days and you need to get everything lined up," he added. "So, in the end I'm disappointed with the last lap, but everything else I was happy with. It will be an interesting race tomorrow."
"For Mark, having looked competitive in Q1 and Q2, unfortunately his lap in Q3 was just that little bit off," explained Horner. "On such a close grid, the differences are marginal. Hopefully both drivers can have very strong races from their grid positions tomorrow."