In Q1 I wanted to use only hard tyres, but my first lap was only a 1:23.2. I completed 6 further laps and improved to a 1:20.6, better than my team mate, and I was 6th. Later in the session everyone improved and I fell to 14th but I was satisfied. In Q2, with soft tyres, I only improved by 4 tenths, but on my fifth flying lap I set a 1:19.8, which gave me 10th place and highlighted my problem of setting my fastest lap immediately, before my tyres wear out. In Q3 I set my fuel to do 2 flying laps: my first gave me 9th place, my second, improved by 3 tenths, gave me 8th place.
I attacked with most of my KERS at the start, earning second place behind Vettel and ahead of Massa. I thought I could keep a pace similar to Vettel’s, but after the first couple of laps he quickly extended his lead. I pitted on lap 5, and came out 10th ahead of Buemi. Massa pitted on lap 6 and exited the pit lane alongside me, but I was faster and passed him on the outside of turn 1. Button pitted on lap 10 despite being on soft tyres, and although he was consistently faster than me I was ahead when he re-joined the track. Vettel won with an over-10 second lead, and I led Massa to the second step of the podium. Webber finished 6th, Buemi 16th.
At the scene of my first pole position, I struggled to set a good lap. After quite a few laps, I was able to reach first Q2 then Q3, where a decent lap put me in 3rd place. However I didn’t want to ruin my tyres so I returned to the pits, and I was beaten and became 5th.
Massa, 3rd, stayed on the inside but then dived on the outside, and both him and Alonso ran a little wide, helping me to become second behind Vettel. I used my KERS to attack him immediately, and I earned the lead.
I should have pitted on lap 6, but my tyres were drastically blistered, so I anticipated my stop to lap 5. I was 2nd when most had pitted, the only one remaining being Massa, 14 seconds ahead. As I approached the tunnel, I noticed yellow flags and saw I now led the race: Massa had retired. I had a 15-second lead on Alonso, but I relaxed, to preserve my tyres, and he was consistently half a second faster than me, per lap.
I found the first backmarkers on lap 9, and it took me two laps to lap them all. Alonso’s gap had decreased to a little over 8 seconds. On lap 13 I made a mistake, as my tyres were already losing grip, and spun into the barrier, losing pieces of my front wing. Alonso was 2 seconds behind and had only two cars left to lap. When he did so, he quickly reached me, as I was very cautious in the accelerations so as not to spin. The last lap was desperate, I skidded around the track and beat Alonso to the win by a few tenths. Webber was 4th, and Buemi 15th.
Season 2 – Toro Rosso #1
Wins: 3 – Poles: 0 – Doubles: 0 – Grand Slams: 0
Australia – 12th + 5th
Malaysia – 3rd + 2nd
China – 2nd + 1st
Turkey – 4th + 1st
Spain – 8th + 2nd
Monaco – 5th + 1st