Toro Rosso left the Chinese Grand Prix happy today after the performance of their Australian driver, Daniel Ricciardo.
After succeeding in getting in Q3 in qualifying yesterday, Ricciardo scored his first points finish of the season today with a seventh place finish. This was despite having to make an early pit stop for a new front wing.
“I am really pleased to score my first points of the season and to confirm the qualifying performance. After yesterday afternoon I kept calm, knowing the real work would begin today. The last time I qualified this well was sixth in Bahrain last year and then I failed to score, so today, I really wanted to show people what I could do, so it’s great for me to have had a great race but it’s especially good for the team, who have worked so hard for this,” he said. The performance was timely given increasing uncertainty about the future of Mark Webber.
“Of course, the early pit stop to change the nose affected our plans and towards the end, Massa’s Ferrari was looking bigger and bigger ahead of me! So yes, maybe I could have done even better, but for now I’ll settle for this seventh place. From the start of the season, we have had many changes in terms of personnel and it takes a while for that to gel and this weekend, it felt like everything clicked into place, after the first two race weekends were a bit up and down, but now I expect us to continue getting stronger from here on,” he added.
It was a tougher race for Ricciardo’s team mate, Jean-Eric Vergne, who nevertheless got involved with several battles in the mid pack. He recovered from being spun by Mark Webber to finish outside the points in twelfth.
“I think Mark could not have got through from where he tried and I’m not even sure if he was trying to pass me. Certainly I didn’t even know he was there. Unfortunately, the impact put me into a spin and the incident damaged my floor. From then I lost a lot of downforce. It was not a good race from then on, having lost a lot of time and having to drive a damaged car,” the Frenchman bemoaned.
“It’s not been a good weekend, as I did not have a smooth time of it from the start. However, as I said yesterday, the pace of the car has improved in the break since Malaysia, as could be seen from what Daniel was able to do today. Therefore I am now looking forward to Bahrain with a positive outlook.”
“There are just a few days until we race again in Bahrain and the plan is to keep this momentum going so that we can bring home more points before starting the European part of the season,” team boss Franz Tost concluded.