It was a case of mixed fortunes in qualifying at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with Romain taking a season-best of fifth but Pastor experiencing an off on his first flying lap in qualifying to leave him at the back of the grid for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Once more glorious blue skies and sunshine met teams for the second day of track action and morning practice saw Romain fifth and Pastor in ninth.
Come qualifying, Pastor’s early off brought about the day’s first red flag and then Romain only just made it through the first knock-out stage by setting the 16th fastest time in Q1.
Q2 looked far better, with P6 on the board with a lap just two tenths shy of that of reigning champ, Sebastian Vettel, but Q3 was to be even better; once the session countdown said zero and the final flying laps were complete, Romain was in P5, his best qualifying position since last year’s United States Grand Prix.
“It’s very positive for everybody in the team to be on the third row of the grid,” said Romain. “It’s where we want to be and there is certainly more to come.
“We have been working hard and had good updates here and found some ways to continue to improve the car and make it work better. We found some more performance and today we had a good qualifying session.”
Pastor, meanwhile, was understandably disappointed with his day but nevertheless was able to see the positives from the weekend so far.
“The car is working much better, especially here on this track,” he said. “We have definitely made a step forward. With entire the package put together we can see a positive improvement this weekend. The long run we did yesterday looked quite good and consistent. I think that we now have a car that whatever the conditions we can move into the top ten, fighting from P3 to P10.
“The testing to come early next week is also very important for us to continue to progress and understand the car. I will do my best in the race, as always. If everything runs like planned, then we can fight for points.”