Toro Rosso came away from the Belgian Grand Prix his weekend with a point thanks to a strong showing following a struggle in qualifying from Daniel Ricciardo, while a frustrated Jean-Eric Vergne finished 2 places behind. Talking after the race Ricciardo commented “It was nice to get that point!”
Ricciardo put his points finish down to good tyre management “We ran a long first stint on the Hards and I think that helped us build a good base to have a strong pace in the final stints on the Medium. I felt much more comfortable on the Option tyre and that’s when my race really started. With the last set of tyres I was knocking out maybe ten or so qualifying laps and managed to pick off some cars in front to bring home that crucial point.
“We knew we had to move on from yesterday. I had said that starting where we were, getting in the points would be good, so I’m happy with that and with the pace we showed while fighting to get there.”
Vergne who finished the race in twelfth place felt things could have gone differently despite pulling off a brilliant pass on Nico Hulkenberg. “I think we could have done a bit better than this twelfth place, because my pace was good until the final stint when I had a slow puncture almost right from the start of it, which meant my performance dropped off.
While Vergne managed to get by the Sauber he could not close in on the eleventh place car ahead of him. “I managed to get past Hulkenberg with an exciting move, but I could not close to Perez ahead of me and then my team-mate Daniel came up behind me on new tyres. It was hard for me to be competitive therefore in the final stint.
“A bit of a weekend to forget as it could have ended so much better, if we had not made a mistake in qualifying, but at least when things were going well it seems that our car has picked up some speed that was lacking just before the break.”
Team Prinicpal Franz Tost was relieved to have come away from Spa with something “Normally, we would not be happy with a single point for tenth place, but given how things went in qualifying, today we can be relieved that both drivers and the team did a good job to recover, with Daniel going from nineteenth to tenth and Jean-Eric from eighteenth to twelfth.
“It was always going to be a difficult Sunday, especially as the rain which could have helped us never arrived. But both cars were fast enough to work their way through a large part of the mid field and Daniel and Jean-Eric produced some exciting passing moves to get back in the points zone.
“We ran different strategies, to try and make the most of any opportunity, with Daniel starting on the Hard tyre and running a longer first stint and, by the final stages this proved to be slightly quicker than Jev’s, although they both made two stops. The most positive aspect of today’s performance is that our pace seems to be back at the relative level we had earlier this season. We are now looking forward to a competitive performance in our home race in Monza.”