Toro Rosso experienced a dramatic Japanese Grand Prix qualifying session after both drivers crashed heavily.
Despite making his way into Q3, Sebastian Buemi’s chances of a strong grid position were ruined after the Swiss driver crashed at the exit of Spoon Curve. and damaged his rear suspension.
Buemi came into criticism from a number of F1 figures after driving his wrecked car back to the pits and spoiling other driver’s laps.
Jaime Alguersuari was also involved in an accident during Q2 which brought out the red flags. Thankfully the Spaniard was given the all clear, after being taken to the track’s medical centre, and will race tomorrow.
Sebastien Buemi – 10th:
“I’m not happy, as I made it through to Q3, but after crashing the car I couldn t take part. A great shame as this would have been my second Q3 of the season and the car was super today. I was reasonably comfortable so maybe I didn’t need to do that last lap. In Q1 after I crashed, I managed to bring it back to the pits and have it repaired, so after the second accident, I felt I had to try and bring it back again, as you don t know from the cockpit how bad the damage is. At that point of the track, the kerb is really high and if you touch it at the speed you are doing there, you just fly over it. I hope to make good use of the performance level of the car in the race, to repay the team for all the work they have to do now.”
Jaime Alguersuari – 15th:
“Before the accident, I was pushing hard on the hard tyre. I lost control and went into the wall. It was quite a heavy impact. The car looks very bad, but I’m fine. I felt confident in the fast Turn Nine, so I was going for it, until I went a little bit too fast on the hard tyre and once I was on the grass, I had no grip. The kerb there is far too high for the speed you are carrying at this point. I hope it can be repaired so that I can start from the position in which I qualified. We knew today would be difficult, with this morning being the only dry practice, which made qualifying tough, especially as it is the first time I have been here. Obviously, it’s bad to crash, but in general, I feel we are moving forward, so I hope I can have a nice race as long as I can settle into a good rhythm. Sorry for giving the guys so much work to do now!”
Laurent Mekies, Toro Rosso chief engineer:
“The most important thing is that both our drivers are fine and we hope the same goes for the other drivers who crashed this afternoon. A day of mixed feelings, as on the one hand, we showed good performance both in the wet yesterday and in the dry this morning, and on the other, both cars are damaged. Another good point is that Jaime made it to Q2 for the first time in his short career, which is an achievement. Sebastien has been quick since yesterday and he was on course to produce an excellent qualifying. Then he went off the track in Q1 and the entire team did a fantastic job to put the car back together again, so he could complete Q1 and move to Q2. With the car repaired as best as possible in the time available, he made it through easily into Q3, but went off on his second timed lap and we could not repair the car for Q3. A lot of work ahead of us now. On the positive side, our performance has clearly moved up a notch this weekend, with our upgrade putting us in a better position. I am impressed with both drivers given the limited time they had to learn the track, with only P3 in the dry.”