By normal standards, 22nd and 24th on the starting grid might sound like a disaster to any other team, but to HRT, this result is definitely something of a stepping stone to better things.
Driving a Dallara-designed chassis that has not had a single update since it was made, Bruno Senna posted a fastest lap in the first knockout stage of qualifying just 4.199 seconds slower than the session’s quickest man Sebastian Vettel, on what is considered to be one of the most aero-challenging circuits on the calendar.
Furthermore, the Brazilian rookie became the first HRT driver to outqualify a rival team’s driver on pace.
Admittedly, Virgin’s Lucas di Grassi will be inclined to blame an engine misfire for his last-row starting position, but Senna was just over half-a-second off Timo Glock’s pace in the sister Virgin car.
No wonder he’s brimming with confidence…
"It was a good qualifying, we’ve been working on car setup this weekend and finally the car is giving some confidence," Senna told the BBC. "We pushed hard, the car was there and we did a good lap time."
"We’re independent [referring to the team’s confirmed split with chassis-builder Dallara] and I hope in the future that we can start fighting with the Lotuses and, if we’re really optimistic, we can start fighting the back of the other teams,” he added.
Note how he has already dismissed the threat of Virgin Racing as a potential rival… Those are fighting words indeed, Bruno! Hats off to the team for this result!
[Original image via Sutton Images]