Ricciardo stars after Shanghai disappointment
21 April 2012 – Less than a week ago, Toro Rosso found itself effectively using the Chinese Grand Prix as an extended test session. Now in Bahrain, the Italian team is delighted with Daniel Ricciardo’s career-best qualifying position of sixth on the grid at Sakhir.
“It feels very good and I am very happy with that result,” exclaimed the Australian, whose familiar smile has now returned. “We had a below average week in China with some updates we took; we persisted with them and we made them work significantly better here, which is down to the hard work of the whole team. My communication with the team was also very good and it has helped us get into Q3.
“I was happy with my driving and I got better and better in each of the sessions. It’s not always you have a day like this so I can enjoy the moment, bearing in mind that it’s tomorrow that counts. Now we have to put it all together for the race and tonight we will be looking at all our strategy options regarding tyres. It helps to go into a race feeling confidence and starting from sixth.
“I have to focus on scoring as many points as possible, as this is the best chance we have had so far. I hope I am still smiling tomorrow evening.”
However, it was a bittersweet day for the squad formerly known as Minardi, as Jean-Éric Vergne was eliminated in Q1 for the third successive race weekend.
“I do not understand why I was so slow this afternoon, especially as the car was going well this morning and as can be seen from Daniel’s impressive performance,” the puzzled Frenchman commented. “Well done to him. I am keen to get back to the engineers to look at the data and find out why I could not deliver the performance I was hoping for.
“The track was three degrees warmer this afternoon than in the morning, but I don’t think it was down to that. I’ve started from the lower half of the grid before and then managed to have a good race so, given that I think the car has the potential, that is what I plan to do tomorrow.”
The pair were British Formula 3 Champions of 2009 and 2010, respectively.
Post-qualifying development at Sakhir:
Vergne reprimanded for missing weighbridge