The Scuderia Toro Rosso team took home two more points in the championship with a ninth place finish for Jean-Eric Vergne at the wet-dry Hungarian Grand Prix. Team-mate Daniil Kvyat was less fortunate, with his car stalling on the formation lap, and he was forced to settle for fourteenth at the Hungaroring.
Vergne had a great first half of the race, timing his pit stop to perfection when the first safety car came out to move into second position. He drove superbly to comfortably stave off the challenge of the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg behind him, but as the track became drier, his pace would drop and he fell out of contention for the podium. Despite this he felt he drove well, and was pleased with the race.
“I’m very pleased with the weekend, I think it was a good one,” said Vergne. “As for the race, the team did a fantastic job to call me in straight after the safety car and everything worked well. The race was really nice and I had a lot of fun being in second position for some time. I knew that I didn’t have the pace to keep up with the others around me until the end of the race but it was a great moment.
“Obviously I would have liked to finish in a better position to get more points but we still have to improve the performance level of the car. I’m confident that step by step this will come soon, so I’m really positive for the second part of the season.”
Team-mate Kvyat saw his hopes of a good result go out of the window before the race even began when the car inexplicitly turned itself off as the cars were heading onto their formation lap, and from there on in, the Russian was always trying to make up positions, and could only finish fourteenth.
“This was a very tough race,” admitted Kvyat. “I’m not sure what happened at the start, it has never happened to me before. The engine just stalled and so I was forced to start from the pit lane. The first half of the race was not too bad, I tried to catch up but overtaking was difficult and I had a hard time looking after the tyres, especially being stuck behind the other cars.
“It’s a shame we couldn’t finish the first half of the season on a high note, but I’m sure we can turn things around and come back stronger at the next race.”
Team Principal Franz Tost praised Vergne for his efforts in the race, especially while running in second position ahead of the Mercedes and Red Bull drivers. He admitted falling down to ninth at the flag was disappointing, but with the pace of the car as it is, it was expected. He also was happy with Kvyat’s performance, and insists the team will look into the reasons why his car turned itself off on the formation lap that necessitated a pit lane start for the young Russian.
“We showed a very good performance in the Qualifying, starting the race with JEV from eighth and Daniil from tenth position,” said Tost. “JEV showed a fantastic race under wet conditions, but also in the drying off circumstances, when he was second behind Alonso showing Rosberg, [Sebastian] Vettel and [Lewis] Hamilton the back of the car. It was clear that under a full dry track we can’t keep this position. At the end we scored points again which is quite positive.
“Daniil’s engine stalled at the start. We have never faced this before. We will investigate the reason for this to prevent it in the future. Taking into consideration that Daniil had to start from the pit lane he showed a good race. Thanks to the team, which did a good job during the entire weekend, and congratulations to Red Bull and Daniel Ricciardo for the fantastic victory.”