Jean-Eric Vergne insists he had no option but to pit for a second time in the closing stages of the Monaco Grand Prix after the Frenchman missed out on scoring his best result of the season.
Vergne had pitted early for the first time after getting stuck in traffic and was trying to make a one-stop strategy work with a long second stint.
The Toro Rosso man climbed up to seventh place as a result of the strategy call but then pitted when rain started to fall with less than ten laps to go and switched to intermediate tyres.
With the rain not heavy enough for Vergne to benefit, he crossed the line down in tenth place but insisted that the fact he needed to pit, rather than the decision to fit intermediate tyres, was what had cost him.
“After the start, lots of cars in front of me cut the corner at the first turn and I found myself behind the Marussia and I was losing a lot of time,” he said. “I was on a one stop strategy and to try and get me out of the traffic, we made an early stop. From then on, I ran at a very good pace, which I am happy about and I was as high as seventh. I was lapping quickly and consistently.
“But with around 14 laps to the end, my tyres were completely gone and I had to come in for the Intermediates, but the rain was not strong enough. It's a real shame about the laps I lost in traffic at the start because without that I could have been comfortably in the points today. I am looking forward to Canada, as it's a track I particularly like even if I have not been there and I will go there really hungry to get a good result.”
Team boss Franz Tost admitted that the rain that finally arrived when the chequered flag dropped had simply come too late for his driver.
“The heavier rain that finally arrived as Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber was on the podium celebrating a great win came too late to keep Jean-Eric in the points,” he said. “Because he found himself towards the back of the field in the early stages after several cars got ahead of him on the opening lap by cutting the chicane, we brought him in early to switch to the Soft tyre with which he would go to the end of the race on a one stop strategy.
“Unfortunately, the tyres we fitted on lap 17 were therefore not in the best condition when some very light drizzle began to fall. As he had very little grip on the worn tyres, we brought him to fit the Intermediates on lap 71, but the rain which would have helped him fight for tenth place did not come soon enough.”