Sebastien Buemi reckons he could have finished 'at least' ninth on Sunday in Malaysia, but for that ten second stop-go penalty.
Buemi, who scored four points at the F1 2011 opener in Australia two weeks ago after ending the race in eighth, was penalised by the stewards after he broke the pit lane speed limit when he came in for fresh tyres on lap 15.
Speaking after the race the Toro Rosso man admitted he was puzzled why he got a stop-go rather than the more 'usual' drive-through. He eventually finished in 13th.
“I made a good start, passing [Nico] Rosberg and was running well, closing up on [Kamui] Kobayashi and [Michael] Schumacher, but at my first pit stop, I had the impression that the Pit Lane Speed Limiter had not been engaged,” he explained. “I immediately pressed it again, which deactivated it, so I speeded in the pit lane.
“I picked up a ten second stop-go penalty as a result, which I felt was a bit severe, as usually you get a drive-through penalty which loses you less time. After that I gave it my best shot but it was not enough to get a reward for the work, as I felt we could have got the Force Indias and at least finished ninth.”
Team-mate Jaime Alguersuari meanwhile came home in 14th, one place lower, after a difficult afternoon in which he struggled at the wheel of his STR6.
“I need to analyse this race with the engineers, because to be honest, I don't really understand what happened: we were slow and the tyre degradation was very high, higher than on Friday,” he stated. “I struggled to clean the graining off the front tyres and was losing performance with every passing lap.
“On the positive side, I made a good start, gaining a few places. But soon I found I could not keep up with the guys in front. Given the difficulties I had, I feel that finishing the race was in itself an achievement and the best I could do today.”
“Both drivers made a reasonably good start, with Alguersuari completing the opening lap in eleventh place, one ahead of Buemi,” Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost summarised.
“On lap 8, Sebastien passed Jaime, showing a very good pace at this stage of the race, closing up on those ahead of him. We called him in for his first pit stop, but the Pit Lane Speed Limiter was deactivated and because of this, he exceeded the limit and was given a ten second stop-go penalty. From then on Seb's race was compromised and if it had not been for that, he could have been in the fight for ninth place.
“As for Jaime, he struggled with rear tyre degradation and I think it would have helped if we had put him on a three stop strategy, instead of two. Fortunately, our closest competitors in the championship did not pick up that many points today, so we are still in reasonable shape in the Constructors' classification. However, the mid-field is very close at the moment, which means we have to do a better job, starting in Shanghai.”