Two cars in the top ten is an absolutely fantastic result and one that everyone in the team can be proud of.
Based on our free practice performance we had not expected to do quite so well and while a couple of factors – Mark Webber going out in Q1 and Petrov bringing out a red flag with 2”02 remaining in Q2, then failing to take part in Q3 – certainly helped us on our way, it is also true that the engineers got the strategy just right, the mechanics worked well under pressure and the drivers delivered the goods. Although we were regular visitors to Q3 in 2009, the last time we got both our cars into the top ten on the grid dates back to the final race of 2008 in Brazil, when Sebastian Vettel qualified seventh and Sebastien Bourdais was ninth on the grid.
In Q1, Jaime opted to use just one set of tyres when it seemed that getting through the first part of the afternoon was going to happen, while Sébastien went for two which meant the Spaniard would have two new sets for the second part of the session and the Swiss driver one. However, events overtook us when Petrov had a problem with his Renault, stranded in the middle of the track. The organisers had no option but to bring out the red flag at which point, Sébastien and Jaime were sixth and seventh. The two Toros stayed in the garage when the session resumed and we nervously watched as they dropped just one place each – good enough to tackle the top ten shoot-out.
Our pace up to that point suggested that we would be starting the third round of the championship from eighth and ninth places, given that Petrov was a non-starter, but Jaime drove very well, getting the better of Di Resta in the Force India, to claim the seventh spot on the fourth row of the grid, with his team-mate right behind in ninth place.
A good performance on Saturday afternoon puts a smile on everyone’s face, but you cannot keep it there forever and as Jaime said after the session, given we are punching a bit above our weight today, it will be tough for him and Séb to defend their positions over 56 laps of this demanding track. Of course, we are not going to just roll over and let faster cars go past us, which means our two boys need to pull on their boxing gloves and prepare for a fight.
Six places ahead of Alguersuari on the grid we find the man who has monopolised pole all season, Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel: hardly a surprise but did he really have to be seven tenths faster than the second placed man, Jenson Button? It’s beginning to look like a walkover for our former driver. Lewis Hamilton is third in the second McLaren, with Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes alongside him while the third row is an all Ferrari affair; Fernando Alonso ahead of Felipe Massa.