It was a difficult afternoon of qualifying in Catalunya for the Toro Rosso duo. We took the safe option of sending both our boys out on the softer Medium tyres early in Q1 in case there was the usual traffic jam of cars trying to avoid the cut for Q2. It clearly worked as, come the end of the first session, Kvyat was sixth, having used two sets of Mediums and Vergne eighth. With the ten place grid penalty hanging over Jev, it was pointless using up too many tyres in qualifying, so the Frenchman stayed in the garage for Q2, therefore ending up 16th and last, while Daniil kept pushing to secure 13th place and a spot on the seventh row of the grid. He shares it with Esteban Gutierrez in the Sauber. Jev of course will be at the back of the grid, along with Pastor Maldonado, who crashed out early in Q1 in the Lotus.
Lewis Hamilton took his 35th career pole and really seems to be in a class of his own right now and inevitably, his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg was right behind him. Daniel Ricciardo was best of the rest in third place but the Red Bull Racing’s gap to pole, at around a second, shows just how far out in front are the Silver Arrows. If the other teams were hoping to have closed the gap during the long break since China, it doesn’t seem to be the case. Valtteri Bottas showed well to take fourth for Williams, ahead of an equally impressive Romain Grosjean in the Lotus. Kimi Raikkonen completes the top six for Ferrari.
We don’t need to tell you that Jev will have a tough race tomorrow, because even if our car should be faster than many of those starting ahead of him, the Catalunya circuit is not the best for overtaking. If the TV cameras spot it, following the Frenchman in the early stages should at least be entertaining, while from 13th Daniil has a realistic chance of scoring some more points come the end of the 66 lap race. Last year, some cars four-stopped here, but that’s unlikely to be a viable strategy tomorrow, with three tyre changes being a more realistic way to go.