Scuderia Toro Rosso came away from the Japanese Grand Prix with a point after Daniel Ricciardo was able to finish tenth. Despite coming under pressure from Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher in the last few laps of the race, the Australian hung on to claim another point’s finish.
Team mate Jean-Eric Vergne finished thirteenth.
“It was an eventful race. Immediately at the start, I got bogged down a little bit, but then going up through the gears I found more drive, but I’d lost a position to Hulkenberg. Then, with the incident that later brought out the Safety Car, I managed to make up some places. I saw Alonso spin off in front of me and it was a close call, as quite a few of us were close to getting caught up in the accident. I managed to get around it and got past Grosjean going into Turn 3,” Ricciardo said.
“From then on, I had a pretty good race, staying with Maldonado at first, but could not pass him. The last two stints were good, at first having a battle with Webber who was on a different strategy.”
“Then right at the end, I was holding off Michael and I was really pleased to have won that battle. It’s always tougher when you are the slower car in a duel, but with good advice from the pit wall on how to use the KERS to defend in the DRS zone, I managed it. Our work rate as a team has improved and I’m very pleased with the way I drove under pressure. It’s not every day you have a seven times world champion on your tail and given he only has a few more races, it was nice to have a battle with him to put in my scrapbook!”
Meanwhile, Vergne had a strong run to finish thirteenth, just outside the points after recovering from a grid penalty for blocking Bruno Senna in qualifying.
“I made a good start, but in general, it could have been a better race for me, as I lost a lot of time behind Kovalainen in the first stint, as he was on the Option and had better traction out of the corners than I did. Also, at the second corner, I came across Rosberg going backwards in front of me and I had to brake, which meant everyone went past me. After that, I just pushed as hard as I could, showing what the car could do, running a strong pace.”
“Losing three places on the grid with a penalty did not help, but yet again we showed we can be strong on Sunday, as we were faster than the Force Indias and Senna. Now I only have to wait a few days to try again in Korea, where I first drove on Friday morning for Toro Rosso last year. In general, this has been an enjoyable weekend and I’m already looking forward to racing here again next year.”
“We have now scored points in three of the last four races, which is very encouraging and is down to the efforts of everyone here at the track and back at the factory. Once again, we saw that our race pace allowed us to challenge for the points positions even from far back on the grid, therefore if we can improve our performance on Saturday afternoon, we can aspire to do better,” Franz Tost, the team boss concluded.