Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, August 23rd, 2013 (F1Plus / Graham Keilloh) - From the headline times of today’s one fully dry Spa practice session, Jean-Eric Vergne had the firm upper hand on his Toro Rosso team mate Daniel Ricciardo. Vergne impressed by setting the fifth fastest time, while Riccardo languished down in 16th place, with his best lap more than a second slower than his stable mate’s mark.
But afterwards the Australian explained that the difference was down to the two Toro Rosso cars being split in their set-up approach – in part because of the first session being rain-effected – in order to help evaluate what was the quickest approach for Spa’s unique challenge.
Ricciardo also confirmed that he’ll copy Vergne’s approach for qualifying.
"On my side of the garage (the second practice session was) not great, but guess it’s a typical Friday for us, we split the cars. Especially when you come to a circuit like Spa, low downforce, high downforce all of these things are a question mark each year. We split the cars with a few mechanical things and see how we go, obviously for my side it wasn’t the way to go, the direction we did.
"What’s encouraging is JEV (Vergne), he did a good time in FP2 and that’s encouraging for us now so we’ll go that way, that direction, and push hard for tomorrow. My position (from) today should be improved tomorrow.
"They’re (Vergne’s side of the garage) pretty pleased with their afternoon, it’s good for us, we’ve just got to look at the data now, understand it all, and bolt on a few of these parts!
"You’ve got one part of the track wet and the rest dry so the morning (practice session) was a bit of a scrub, so I guess it forced us to try more this afternoon and to change the car a bit more drastically, but I think we learnt what we had to."
When asked by F1Plus if he’s confident of getting into tomorrow’s top ten shoot-out in qualifying as he has in the last four rounds, Ricciardo said that he was: "I’d love to keep the whole Q3 run going. If we can get some performance like JEV had today we’re looking good. We have to find it on my car now, but I’d say Q3 is definitely not out of the picture."
On the subject of Ricciardo perhaps not following up strong qualifying performances with good race results, Ricciardo explained that: "In qualifying at least in Nurburgring and Budapest I probably pulled it out, not to be cocky, we were nowhere all weekend and in qualifying I managed to find a bit extra. So in the race it’s hard, because we never had that pace it’s hard to keep the one-lap performance over 70 laps when you’ve got tyre deg and the rest. I think that we out-qualified the car… and unless you get lucky in the race it’s hard to really convert that."