Toro Rosso were again left to bemoan the lack of pace in the STR7 after Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne finished the Hungarian Grand Prix in fifteenth and sixteenth today.
For Ricciardo, the result was at least an improvement on his starting position of eighteenth, but feels that his car was not capable of anything more.
“I had a reasonable start passing a couple of cars, after which I tried to stay in contact with Di Resta and managed to stay close enough to be in the DRS zone for a few laps,” said the Australian. “But after that he began to pull away gradually and basically, today we just did not have the pace to match our rivals.
“The earlier stints on the Options were not too bad, apart from a few balance issues here and there. We managed to improve the car as the race went on, but for the last stint on the Mediums, it took a while for the tyres to work and maybe my set-up was too conservative for the start of the stint, as we had plenty of pace left at the end of it.
“I don't think there was much more we could have done today. Now it's the break and I hope we can come back stronger in Spa.”
Vergne had a problem towards the end of the race, and lost positions on the opening lap. “I had a really good start, passing both Saubers and a Force India, which then pushed me wide at the first corner, so I lost position and dropped behind the two Caterhams,” explained the French rookie.
“I got past both of them and after that I was behind Kobayashi and then Daniel, who was a bit quicker, as I had started on old Options and he was on new ones. When I made my stop for new Options, I came out behind Kobayashi and was behind him for all that stint, which was a shame as it meant Daniel was pulling away from me and I felt I could have been quicker.
“Towards the end, the pace was not that good and in the closing stages I had to make an unscheduled fourth stop because debris in a side pod was causing an overheating problem. Without that I would have been just behind or just ahead of Daniel. The break? I'd rather be racing!”
Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost praised both of his drivers for their efforts, but knows that the car must improve.
“Fifteenth with Daniel and sixteenth with Jean-Eric is of course not where we want to be, but we cannot hide the fact that our performance level is currently not good enough to fight at the front of the mid-field,” he said.
“Today both drivers did the best they could with the equipment we gave them. There was very little to choose between running a two stop or a three stop strategy and given we had enough sets available after qualifying, that swung the balance in favour of our eventual choice of going for a three stop.
“Jean-Eric had to make a further fourth visit to the pits as we could see that the temperatures were getting too high, which was down to debris in the right hand sidepod.
“There are just a few days of work available to us now, either side of the compulsory break and everyone in the team will be working hard to find some improvements to try and turn our season around in the remaining nine rounds of this very close championship.”