Vergne not angry with Schumacher
23 September 2012
Jean-Eric Vergne was having a very good day's night of it in the 2012 F1 Grand Prix of Singapore, battling with Sauber's Sergio Perez over ninth place immediately after the first safety car period, when suddenly his race ended in a collision from behind from the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher.
Despite the lost opportunity of a solid points-paying finish, Vergne insisted that he wasn't angry with the multiple former world champion for ending his race prematurely.
"There is no sense in being angry about it," he said. "These things happen in racing and even the most experienced driver on the grid can make mistakes!"
Schumacher had run over to apologise to Vergen straight after the accident, hinting that he'd braked normally - even a little earlier than usual - into the corner and that the brakes simply hadn't slowed the car.
For his part, Vergne didn't really know what had happened to cause the accident, which caught him completely by surprise.
"I was focussing on catching Perez at that point, trying to brake late to catch him," he confirmed. "So I am not too sure what happened exactly, but I assume Michael braked a bit too late and could not avoid running in to me.
"It's just a shame it did not end with the points for eighth or maybe even seventh place," he added.
That had certainly been on the cards at that stage of the race, and Vergne took heart from how the race had gone right up to the moment that Schumacher took him out on the run into turn 18
"Our strategy worked very well and the safety car also played out in our favour," he said. "My pace was very good, lapping as quickly as the front runners, so it was much better than we had expected. Overall, I am very happy with the way this weekend went, because I personally made a lot of progress from Friday through to tonight. The team also worked very well to improve the car throughout the three days."
His Toro Rosso team mate Daniel Ricciardo was unaffected by Vergne's accident with Schumacher and went on to finish in the points in ninth place by the time the chequered flag came out.
"It's great to be back in the points again and it shows we have had a really good start to the second half of the season since the summer break," said Ricciardo, who managed to hold off his fellow Australian Mark Webber in the closing laps. "Even if we haven't always picked up the points, we have been fighting for them in the last few races. I am pleased about that."
"I am really happy with ninth place and I enjoyed having a fight with Mark towards the end, even if I could not hold off Massa just before that, he added. "In the closing stages, I didn't look in the mirrors too much, but I just focussed on maintaining my lap times all the way to the flag."
"This race continues a positive trend for us that began in Monza a fortnight ago," said Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost. "We managed to bring home points with Daniel finishing ninth, but it could have been better as Jean-Eric also looked set for a top ten place until the unfortunate collision with Schumacher.
"Both drivers did well and Daniel had a great fight with his fellow countryman Mark Webber in the closing stages, while Jean-Eric also performed very strongly on his first visit to this very demanding circuit," he continued. "The disappointment of Jev's retirement is balanced by the fact that we have looked more competitive at a track that we did not expect would suit our current package.
"This means we are looking forward to the Japan-Korea trip with renewed optimism," he added.