Scuderia Toro Rosso came away from the Spanish Grand Prix with a single point courtesy of Daniel Ricciardo’s tenth place finish.
After qualifying strongly yesterday, the Australian was able to claim his second points finish of the 2013 season, despite coming under pressure from Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez in the closing laps of the race.
“I had a really poor start off the line, with a lot of wheelspin and, to be honest, the first few laps of the race I really struggled with front grip and locking the front brakes. I tried to be patient and eventually it improved and I could see the cars ahead of me were not pulling away so much. It was disappointing to lose ground like that, but the pace itself was not too bad,” he said.
“At the first stop, we made quite a few changes in terms of wing settings and tyre pressures and that helped, so the next two stints were quite good and I made a few passing moves, so it was certainly not a boring race. But then, towards the end of the race, our pace began to fade again. It wasn’t easy to get tenth, even if we looked on course to get more than the one point earlier in the race, so it’s better than nothing.”
Meanwhile, team mate Jean-Eric Vergne was out of luck, as he had to retire for the second time in two races after a delaminating tyre caused damage to his car. The problem came shortly after being run into the back of by Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg in the pits.
“After a good start, I then had a lot of understeer and we had to keep adding a lot of wing at each pit stop, which didn’t really help. The strategy we adopted was the right one and even with a damaged floor and wing I was able to do good lap times. Yet again I was unlucky and I hope that stops soon, because as I was coming into the pits, Sauber did an unsafe release with Hulkenberg who drove into me and then I had a problem with a tyre, so it was one problem after another today,” the French youngster said afterwards.
“I plan to have a better weekend in Monaco in two weeks’ time. I haven’t lost hope for the future, given the performance we had shown earlier in the weekend and it’s just such a shame as that good pace should have allowed us to score points today.”
“We must take heart from the improvement in performance terms that we saw on Friday and Saturday and work to get more out of the updates that delivered this step forward,” team principal Franz Tost concluded.