Vitaly Petrov admits that points were probably out of reach in the European Grand Prix despite him running as high as tenth during the Valencia race.
The Caterham man produced an impressive drive on the Spanish street circuit to run inside the points scoring positions mid-way through before being passed for position by both Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber.
The Russian driver was then involved in contact with Daniel Ricciardo that forced him to pit for a new nose although a 13th place finish was still his best of the season. Petrov's best lap was also quicker than that set by either Sebastian Vettel
or Jenson Button.
“I'm really pleased with how today's race went,” he said. “I made a pretty good start and was just behind Heikki after the first corner - I was pretty careful into T1 as I didn't want to make any mistakes and from that point it was really about managing the tyres and following the instructions from my engineer. I want to thank the boys for the fantastic job they did in the pitstops, particularly when I had to box for a new nose late on in the race.
"Even though we were running tenth at one point I'm not sure a point was quite within reach today, but it's really encouraging to see how we've progressed here and we know we have more to come in Silverstone so we have something good to fight for and that's great for the whole team.”
Team-mate Heikki Kovalainen
followed Petrov home as the team strengthened its grip on tenth in the constructors' championship, despite clashing with a Toro Rosso
himself earlier in the race and being forced to compete without KERS.
“My start wasn't the best I've had this year but I was keeping pace with Webber and Ricciardo for the first few laps,” he said. “Unfortunately we had a KERS issue early on and that obviously hit my pace for the whole race. We had opted for a two stop strategy so for the first stint I was looking after the tyres until we boxed. The stop went well and my pace was good but then Vergne made what looks like a rookie mistake, hit me and I had to come in for a new nose.
“From that point I was just trying to get to the end of the race and with about five or six laps left the tyres were gone. Despite that 13th and 14th is another decent result for the team. We've had a very good weekend here and now we can look forward to making more gains at the next race so we leave on a positive note.”