Starting 17th in today’s German Grand Prix, Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari admits a points finish will be difficult to conjure.
Jaime Alguersuari is watching Alberto Contador lose the Tour de France. As Cadel Evans powers his way to the yellow jersey in Grenoble, the three times winner from Spain didn’t manage to mount a serious challenge in the time trial. In fairness, nobody expected him to – but then nobody expected Jaime to score points in the last three grands prix either, but he did.
“I wanted Contador to win, but he had a tough challenge today and Cadel did really well. Amazing.” Jaime admits to being a keen winter cyclist (“but maybe not quite at that level”) but even in the Eifel the only mountain he has to climb tomorrow is a figurative one. Starting 17th on the grid his chances of getting into the top ten are slim – though in the last three races he’s started 18th/18th/pitlane, so the question should probably be, is he damaging his chances by being too near the front tomorrow?
'I don’t think it helps being dead last at the start'
“Ah, no,” says Jaime, “there’s been some laughter about before the weekend that but I don’t think it helps being dead last at the start. Actually, on a more serious note it’s obvious that the team as a whole is struggling with qualifying, because 17th and 18th are our normal positions at the moment, it seems. We seem to be much better in the race, which maybe suggests the DRS [used less in racing than in qualifying] is a factor – but we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
Expecting Jaime to pull another rabbit out of the hat is a tall order as the availability of a high-risk strategic choice (as used in Valencia and Great Britain) does not seem to be an option at the Nürburgring, though another deluge akin to the one which propelled him forward in Canada is a distinct possibility.
'Would it be good if it rains? Yes. I think for us it would'
“At the moment I don’t know what we’re going to come up with, because I don’t know what the weather will do. Of course we hope to get into the points but it’s going to be hard because this track is tough for us: the tyre degradation is low for everyone so I don’t see anyone doing three stops – but equally I can’t see many one-stopping – so if everyone is stopping twice the opportunity of using strategy is going to be limited. Would it be good if it rains? Yes. I think for us it would. Why not?”
It is, concedes Jaime, not his favourite sort of track (“it doesn’t have the big, high-speed corners that you get somewhere like Silverstone.”) but he also acknowledges that the car is improving all the time, qualifying pace none withstanding. “I think we’ve made a step forward since Monaco with the setup of the car. I think we can still improve, still do a better job, but qualifying is where we need to make the next step because at the moment we’re too far behind Force India, which really limits our ability to score. In fact I really wonder how we can be in front of Force India and Williams in the Championship. We are on the limit, I think, every race.”
With the season at it’s halfway point Jaime’s year is looking considerably better than it did after six races, which begs the question, is he happy with his form? “I’m… satisfied. I think we can do another good race tomorrow and in Hungary, and if we develop the car we can still score some points in the next few races. I’m very confident in the team and I think in the second half of the year we can really perform.”
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