Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, Suzuka, 2018

Toro Rosso having best weekend of 2018 at Honda’s home race

Lap Time Watch: 2018 Japanese Grand Prix

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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.

The result of today’s qualifying session gives plenty of support to that claim. While 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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2018 Japanese Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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4 comments on “Toro Rosso having best weekend of 2018 at Honda’s home race”

  1. Let’s hope for next year there really is a contest.

  2. Shame that the rain had to come and ruin the chance(s) to beat the outright track record.

  3. Much comes down to how well it works for them in Sundays when it really counts. Encouraging for today no question, but the Honda Pu must get more powerful and be reliable too, naturally.

  4. wonder what alonso and brawn have to say now.. lol

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