European GP: Toro Rosso qualifying report

Jaime Alguersuari (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR5. Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Practice Day, Valencia Spain, Friday 25 June 2010.

Jaime Alguersuari

Jun.26 (Grand Prix 247) Watching the Swiss football team get knocked out of the World Cup on Friday night seems to have spurred on Sébastien Buemi to restore national pride, as he delivered an excellent qualifying performance this afternoon on the Valencia street circuit to post his best result of the season, securing a place on the sixth row of the grid.

It means he will start tomorrow’s European Grand Prix from eleventh place. Much of the credit for the result must go to the engineers, who managed to find a very good set-up for the STR5 at this track and well done to Sébastien who went for a single flying lap on his last run in Q2, which meant his car would be lighter and therefore faster, but without the ‘safety net’ of a second lap in hand, if anything had gone wrong.

However, if Seb’s Q2 performance was a strong one, there is some regret that we did not have a Toro Rosso car in Q3 this afternoon. There is absolutely no doubt that our driver was held up badly at the final corner by the Williams of Rubens Barrichello and, but for that, the Swiss driver’s time would definitely have been good enough to get into the final top ten shoot out.

Our other car, in the hands of Jaime Alguersuari, will start from seventeenth place on row 9, after the Spaniard admitted that he was quite simply confused at why he had not been able to squeeze more performance out of the car this afternoon, although he too lost some time through traffic, the eternal curse of street circuits the world over.

What can we expect from tomorrow’s ninth round of the Formula 1 World Championship? It’s hard to say, as the past two runnings of this event have been rather processional and with the tyres behaving themselves here, we will not be seeing a repeat of the marvellous Montreal race. On the other hand, watching Saturday’s GP2 race, maybe anything could happen, as the junior formula event had a hectic opening lap, which saw a couple of multiple pile-ups and an immediate Safety Car period.

No doubt, a processional race is just what Red Bull Racing would like, as they locked out the front row today, with Sebastian Vettel on pole and Mark Webber second. The second row sees the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton in third spot, with Fernando Alonso alongside him for Ferrari. The second Prancing Horse of Felipe Massa qualified fifth fastest, just one hundredth of a second quicker than the Renault of Robert Kubica.