Ricciardo 'hoped to be closer to Q3'
27 October 2012
Daniel Ricciardo was happy to have avoided the dreaded Q1 cut that befell his Toro Rosso team mate Jean-Eric Vergne, but he'd hoped to be closer to making it into the final top-ten shootout than he ended up being.
"That was quite a good session for me and I was pretty happy with my laps," said the Australian, who was in the drop zone at one stage before springing out of danger with his final fun and up to 12th place with a time of 1:27.006s.
However, he couldn't reproduce the same form in Q2 and ended up having to settle for 15th place on the grid instead, further back than he'd been hoping.
"My last run in Q2 was a bit scrappy," he admitted. "I had hoped to get a bit closer to Q3, but looking at our pace this morning, we did make a small step forward for qualifying.
"Generally I pushed hard to get the time out of the car," he added. "The nature of this circuit means you have to be aggressive with it."
Vergne was less happy at once again being the driver to fail to make it through to Q2, along with the 'usual suspect' backmarkers of Caterham, Marussia and HRT. Vergne said that overnight changes after struggling in Friday practice had left him on the backfoot for qualifying.
"We made changes to the car overnight, which meant that this morning it was like starting from the beginning with a clean sheet of paper," explained the Frenchman. "It turned out to be quite complicated to find the right balance on the car so it was difficult for me."
"Jean-Eric has made a significant improvement since yesterday, when he was not happy with the car," added Toro Rosso's chief engineer Laurent Mekies. "We made several changes overnight to give him a better feeling and it worked, because he got into a good rhythm this morning."
Despite the improvement, Vergne missed making it through to Q2 by just 0.008s, and he admitted that it was disappointing to miss out by such a narrow margin.
"I will have to try and get a good race tomorrow," he said, trying to look on the bright side of the weekend so far. "If you look at Daniel's performance today, the car definitely has the performance, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
Mekies suggested that tyre strategy would be crucial to how the team fared in Sunday's 2012 F1 Grand Prix of India at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida.
"Tyre management is tricky here as could be seen from the fact that most cars did a lot of laps in qualifying and overall, we are pretty much in the mix, ahead of some of our usual competitors and behind a few others," said the engineer. "This means we can compete with them tomorrow and if we can confirm our usual race pace tomorrow, it should allow us to fight for points."
For his own part, Daniel Ricciardo was certainly up for the challenge: "We are looking alright for tomorrow, as my lap time on used options seems quite respectable," he said.