Toro Rosso drivers enjoy ‘one of the best’ Fridays of 2019 in Mexico
Toro Rosso had one of their strongest Fridays of the season so far at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, with both Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat netting top 10 finishes across both Free Practices 1 and 2 for the Mexican Grand Prix.
Perhaps most strikingly, Kvyat finished the qualifying simulations of FP2 in sixth, just 0.177s down on the time of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, while Gasly was one place further back despite having set his fastest time on the medium compound tyres.
And the Frenchman was understandably chipper when he faced the media on Friday evening...
We had a strong FP2, especially considering we did the fastest lap with the medium tyre
“I think it was a great Friday, probably one of the best,” said Gasly, who’d finished eighth, and one place ahead of Kvyat, in FP1. “We had a good P1, a strong FP2, especially considering we did the fastest lap with the medium tyre.
“We had a small issue with the option tyre, so we didn’t improve on the second run, but overall the car was fast. We can still improve for tomorrow, but overall a good Friday.”
The only frustration looming on the horizon for the Toro Rosso pair was the performance of the soft tyre, which showed high levels of degradation over longer runs across Friday in Mexico.
And while Gasly predicted that the top teams would be able to make it through Q2 using the medium tyre – and thus start on the more durable rubber – it appeared that Toro Rosso had to choose between the glory (and track position advantage) of converting their pace into a Q3 appearance, or trying to game the system and deliberately qualify outside the top 10 in order to have a choice of starting tyres.
“You always want to start in the best grid position you can,” said Gasly. “But for the top teams, I think it will be quite easy to go through [Q2] with the medium. In our situation, it’s a lot more tricky, so we need to see what we want to do. It will be interesting to see what different teams do.”
An added incentive for Toro Rosso to do well this weekend is the allure of fifth place in the constructors’ standings, with the Italian team just eight points off current holders of that spot Renault heading into the weekend.