A candid Jean-Éric Vergne has insisted he only has himself to blame for failing to qualify well up the order after clocking the fifth-fastest time in Saturday’s final practice session.
The Toro Rosso driver – who battled symptoms of a stomach illness earlier on Friday – failed to make it out of Q2, despite his STR9 showing strong pace on both tyre compounds around the Marina Bay Circuit.
“To be fair, I kind of – to say it in a nice way – f**ked it up,” he exclusively admitted RichardsF1.com after qualifying twelfth-fastest. Teammate Daniil Kvyat made it into Q3 and finished tenth-quickest.
“That’s what happened, basically. It’s a real shame and I apologise to the guys because they gave me a really good car. I didn’t do the best in qualifying; I was four-tenths down and was a bit too optimistic and just lost the car. It’s as simple as that.”
“Yeah definitely,” he said, when we asked if he was confident of being able to recover into a points’ finish. “I’m sure the guys will give me a good strategy; we have a good car. In FP2 we were really strong on the long runs and the pace was good. I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow.
“It’s a really big difference between the tyre compounds, here it’s two seconds a lap [between the compounds],” he added, when asked about how Pirelli’s two tyre compounds would impact teams’ race strategies in Sunday’s race. “At Monza, it was just two-tenths. The guys are working on it, and I’m sure they’ll come up with the best strategy for tomorrow.”
Vergne also had an interesting take on the change to the radio regulations, and exclaimed that he couldn’t understand the FIA’s last-minute decision to partially roll back the clampdown it was looking to implement this weekend.
“I found it stupid!” he exclaimed. “They come with a rule, and everybody works towards it. I was looking forward to making everything myself, and it was going to be a bit more challenging for the drivers. I thought it was a good idea. Then before FP1, they come back on their decision. I don’t full understand why, and it’s a bit of a shame that they dropped that.”
Image via XPB Images