Jean-Eric Vergne was bullish following practice for the Belgian Grand Prix
on Friday - and he is confident now they will have a 'good car' for this weekend.
The Toro Rosso
driver was 13th in the rain-affected opening session this morning, but in the dry he came to the fore.
Indeed he posted a 1 minute 50.253 second lap this afternoon, which put him fifth overall, only 0.089 seconds off P4 and ahead of the likes of Kimi Raikkonen
and Fernando Alonso.
“It's really nice to be racing again after the break, especially at this fantastic track. Friday went very smoothly for us,” Vergne said.
“The morning conditions were not ideal, as it was too wet for dry tyres and too dry for the rain tyres, but we still learnt something which could be useful later in the weekend, even if the tyres never got up to temperature.
“Then, we had a good FP2, with the car showing excellent pace over a single lap. The long run was a bit more difficult, but all the same, I feel we have a good car this weekend, whether we run in the dry or the wet. Probably one of the best first days I've had: there were no problems and the car seems to be working well.”
Daniel Ricciardo meanwhile was only 16th on the combined times in the other Toro Rosso
after the set-up direction he took failed to work. Despite that though, the Aussie took encouragement from Vergne's pace and has said he will now look at his team-mates data to make a step forward for FP3 and qualifying.
“Conditions this morning were the ones no one really likes, with part of the track dry and part wet. We ran on Intermediates, but the dry bits of the circuit meant the tyres got a bit chewed up. In the afternoon, we split the workload between the two cars. We tried a direction on my car that we believed would work, but unfortunately it didn't,” Ricciardo stated.
“However, the good news is that Jev seemed to be on the pace, so we can look at his data and get a useful compromise for both cars.
“I'm not happy to be down the bottom of the timesheet, but it's not a reason to be discouraged, because I feel we can deliver tomorrow and aim to get both cars well up the grid.”