Franz Tost was annoyed that the pace shown earlier in the weekend at the Shanghai International Circuit could not translate in Scuderia Toro Rosso scoring more than just the solitary point last Sunday, although he was pleased to see Alexander Albon climb from a pit lane start to finish tenth.
Albon had missed out on competing in Qualifying after crashing at the exit of the final corner late in final practice on Saturday morning, meaning his STR14 was not ready in time for him to take to the track in Q1.
However, the Thai driver, in just his third Grand Prix, made a one-stop strategy work to perfection to secure the final point on offer, just ahead of the charging Romain Grosjean, much to the delight of Toro Rosso team principal Tost.
“From the beginning of the weekend we had a very competitive package,” said Tost. “We were strong in the midfield, so we went into Qualifying quite optimistic for a good result.
“Unfortunately, Alex had a crash at the end of FP3 which caused a decent amount of damage to the car. We changed the monocoque and built a completely new car which meant he missed Qualifying and had to start from the pit lane.
“He drove a fantastic race, overtook many drivers and finished inside the points in tenth position, which showed how good our package has been this weekend.”
Tost believes the penalty handed out to Daniil Kvyat in the second Toro Rosso was unjustified, with the Russian being blamed by the stewards for a first lap clash that compromised both his and the races of the two McLaren F1 Team drivers, Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lando Norris.
The Team Principal does not feel Kvyat could have done anything different in the incident and believes the drive-through penalty was not a fitting punishment for the apparent crime.
“Daniil’s race was unfortunately not as successful, he had a crash on the first lap after being hit from behind which destabilised the car,” said Tost. “At the same time, Norris returned to the track after going wide and hit Daniil’s front left-hand side of the car.
“In my opinion, Daniil couldn’t do anything different, nevertheless the Stewards decided to give him a drive through penalty.”
An additional unscheduled pit stop for a replacement front wing relegated Kvyat well out of contention for a decent result so the team made the call to retire him for the benefit of engine life conservation, although Tost felt the Russian had the pace to score points had things gone his way.
“Later in the race when Daniil made his pit stop, we detected damage on the front nose probably caused by his lap one incident,” he added. “We made another stop to change the front wing which put him a lap down, therefore we decided to retire the car to save engine mileage.
“This was disappointing because Daniil’s lap times were very competitive and I’m convinced he could have scored points today.”