P5 and P7 for Toro Rosso on qualifying in Melbourne

Max Verstappen: "We managed to turn it around and to be P5 – a career best – here in Melbourne is a great achievement by the whole team!"

Max Verstappen (STR11-01, Car 33)

Third Practice Session - Best lap: 1:26.701, pos. 6th, 26 laps
Qualifying - Best lap: (Q1) 1:26.934, (Q2) 1:25.615., (Q3) 1:25.434, pos. 5th

“It was a good qualifying session, especially after FP3, where I was struggling a bit with the car. We managed to turn it around and to be P5 – a career best – here in Melbourne is a great achievement by the whole team! If I’m honest, I’m a bit surprised with the result – I thought Q3 was maybe possible, but to be here in P5 is definitely a better result than we expected. I think this new qualifying system is quite tricky because you only have one lap to perform, but I liked it. Over the winter the team did a great job and now we need to enjoy this moment and get ready for tomorrow’s race. I’m definitely looking forward to it!”

Carlos Sainz (STR11-02, Car 55)

Third Practice Session - Best lap: 1:26.257, pos. 4th, 28 laps
Qualifying - Best lap: (Q1) 1:27.075, (Q2) 1:25.384, (Q3) 1:25.582 pos. 7th

“We can be happy with our first qualifying session of the season – a P5 and a P7 here in Australia is a great result for the team! I’m pleased with my starting position and even though in Q3 I wasn’t able to repeat a strong lap like I did in Q2, a P7 is a good starting point for tomorrow’s race. The car feels really good and the hard work we’ve done over the winter is starting to pay off. It was quite a hectic and tricky session for us, but we hope the fans enjoyed this new format. We’ve got good pace and our objective tomorrow will be to hopefully go forward and score as many points as possible. We need to aim for that top seven, and I’m certainly looking forward to that challenge, it will be a fun race!”

James Key (Technical Director)

“There were a lot of unknowns going into today in many respects. Firstly, it was not until today that we were able to run in dry conditions, so there was much to learn for all teams. Secondly, a new qualifying format and finally and most difficult to predict, to know exactly where everyone was, because winter testing is so difficult to predict. I think we did the right thing in free practice by trying to get some race data early on, as many other teams did, because clearly we were missing a lot of information due to yesterday’s weather conditions.

This gave us some valuable data for tomorrow. The good news also is that the car seemed to be well balanced on the super-soft tyres for qualifying during the FP3 runs, so we were quite encouraged by that. Although Max wasn’t that satisfied with the balance of his car in this morning’s FP3, Carlos was reasonably happy and did a good and competitive lap time. For qualifying, we didn’t know how best to approach it, but we followed our plan and I have to say it worked pretty well. Both drivers did what we needed from them of their first timed lap in Q1.

As a precaution, we sent Carlos out again but in the end we didn’t need to. That meant he needed to survive in the first part of Q2 with a used set of tyres, which he did well. Max was on new tyres and the second run for both of them in Q2 put them through quite safely into Q3. With only eight cars being up there, it was great to see that we could achieve it with both of our cars.

A P5 for Max is an excellent result, and a P7 is also great for Carlos, even though I feel a little sorry for him because his Q2 lap was extremely competitive and sadly he didn’t quite get that lap time in Q3. I think the track was a bit slower but we know that we could’ve been on the third row today with both drivers, and I think Carlos deserved to be there. I’d also like to say thank you to the whole team for such a good job – it’s a very well deserved result after an extremely busy winter!”

Scuderia Toro Rosso

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Australian GP
Sub-event Saturday qualifying
Track Albert Park Circuit
Drivers Carlos Sainz Jr. , Max Verstappen
Teams Toro Rosso
Article type Qualifying report