Belgian GP Qualifying team notes - Toro Rosso


Pierre Gasly: "P11 was a really good result today, it was much better than we expected because we knew Spa is a track that doesn't necessarily suit our car. In the end we were right behind the top 10, so I'm really satisfied with the result. We definitely extracted the most out of the car today; I think the gap to the Haas was five-tenths to get into Q3, so I think it was too much of an ask for a better result. I'm excited to go racing again, I think our tyre degradation was very good which is a positive factor for tomorrow. The cars in front of us are really fast, so it's not going to be easy to overtake them, but if we get a good start then we can give it a big push!"

Brendon Hartley: "After FP2 and FP3 we knew today was going to be a challenge. I think as a team we got most of the performance out of the car and it felt quite good. Making it to Q3 would have been a bit of a stretch today, but in the end it was a pretty good day for us. I would have loved the rain to have come a bit earlier because historically we're pretty good in mixed conditions, but we have been able to achieve the best we could today. P11 and P12 was a good result - especially since we will both move up a position after Bottas' penalty. We're in a good position to hopefully fight for points tomorrow."

Jonathan Eddolls (Chief Race Engineer): "The team did a lot of analysis overnight to pull together everything we learnt in FP1 and FP2. We put together a good test plan for FP3, mainly focusing on tyre operating conditions and aero level after seeing we were fairly competitive in FP2, but less so in FP1 and FP3. We tried an alternative downforce level with Pierre, but this did not give entirely the expected result and made the balance worse so we revered back during the session. Aero tests in Spa are always tough given that it's difficult to get clean laps for comparison without tows. Brendon focused on further setup items and some tyre tests and was generally very happy with his car.

"Unfortunately, neither car got to complete their second runs because of the red flag towards the end of the session, and this limited the amount of data we had to analyse going into Qualifying. Heading into Q1, we put the optimum aero configuration on both cars, with the plan to get a tow, given the importance of the speed gain that comes from this, and that worked very well with both drivers progressing to Q2. The first runs in Q2 were also competitive so we went for one timed lap for the final runs, but unfortunately Brendon locked the rears into T1 and, with Pierre just behind him, this cost his lap too. Having said that, the gap to the car in front was too large for us and in the end it didn't make a difference. However, if we had been offered P11 and P12, which is now P10 and 11th, before coming here, for sure we would have taken it and it's a good position to aim for a positive result tomorrow. Also, congratulations to Racing Point Force India for a great result in qualifying today - after all the uncertainty the team has been through recently it's great to see them perform so well in the very tricky conditions!"

Toyoharu Tanabe (Honda F1 Technical Director): "In yesterday and today's free practice we tried various set-ups relating to chassis and PU and selected the best combination for the rest of the weekend. Although we did not make it through to Q3, starting from tenth and eleventh means we can still realistically aim for a point or two tomorrow afternoon. We will now prepare for the race, bearing in mind that the weather could be a factor."

Check out our Saturday gallery from Spa, here.

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Published: 25/08/2018
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