After testing Honda’s new spec-three power unit in Russia, Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost said the Japanese manufacturers’s upgrade had moved them in front of Renault.Max Verstappen’s Renault-powered Red Bull was ahead of both Toro Rosso-Hondas, it is undoubtedly a much better chassis. It was also the only Renault motor to reach Q3, while both Hondas were there.
Pierre Gasly said it was clear the team’s new engine has given it a significant performance boost, though he wouldn’t put a number on it.
“Overall I would say it’s a big improvement and we can really thank them for that,” he said. “I don’t know exactly how much we’ll be able to extract over a race distance but over one lap it’s clearly a big step.”
Toro Rosso managed their best two-car qualifying result since the first race of last season. They posted the second-largest year-on-year lap time improvement of any team which is the best they’ve done all year.
Only Sauber, who used year-old engines last season, found more lap time around Suzuka than Toro Rosso. For the 10th (applicable) race in a row, Sauber made the biggest year-on-year lap time gain of any team.
Qualifying was disrupted by rain and as such it’s likely we didn’t see the best from all the teams. For only the second time this year, no one lapped quicker than the best time seen in 2017:
Quotes: Dieter Rencken
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