Daniel Ricciardo recovered from a poor qualifying to finish twelfth in the European Grand Prix, but claims that a coming together with Caterham's Vitaly Petrov late on may have cost him a chance to score points, oh so valuable in an often uncompetitive car in F1 2012.
It was the culmination of an eventful, but ultimately disappointing, race for the Toro Rosso team at the Valencia circuit, with Ricciardo's team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne being forced to retire after a seemingly unnecessary collision with the other Caterham of Heikki Kovalainen.
Ricciardo had run fourth at one point under the safety car, and though he dropped back after making his second pit-stop, he finished less than three seconds outside the points, following a spin late in the race as he tried to complete a manoeuvre around the outside of Petrov on his late charge towards the top ten. After the race, he struggled to hide his disappointment.
“After my second stop, I was pushing to the end and had Petrov going quite slowly in front of me, I went to get around him and he defended by going a bit wide," the Australian explained, "I tried to switch back and I feel I gave him some racing room, but we still made contact because perhaps his move was a bit too aggressive. That cost me a chance to get into the points.
“The final result of the race is disappointing. I think I drove well and the team deserved better. Apart from my finishing position, it was a really good race. There were some positives to take away from this race, even if they are not so visible from the outside.”
Vergne, however, didn't find it so easy to look on the bright side following his first retirement of the season. The young Frenchman has shown flashes of brilliance this year, but his move on Kovalainen was ill-judged at best in the eyes of most paddock commentators.
“It's a big shame not to finish the race as I was picking up my pace on the option tyre, having started on prime,m" he reported, "As for the incident with Heikki, I felt I was ahead and, as I started to turn into the corner, we collided and his front wing clipped my rear whee. There was too much damage to the floor and it was impossible to change the damaged rear wheel so there was no way for me to continue. I think it was just a racing incident.”
by Philip Barclay