Toro Rosso left Suzuka pleased with their work in the 2012 F1 Japanese Grand Prix, after Daniel Ricciardo claimed another finish in the top ten.
It was his fourth points finish of the season and his third in four races, and it was hard won - the Australian had to hold off the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher for a long stretch at the end of the race in order to claim that final point at the chequered flag.
“It was an eventful race," agreed Ricciardo. "Immediately at the start, I got bogged down a little bit, but then going up through the gears I found more drive, but I'd lost a position to Hulkenberg. Then with the incident that later brought out the Safety Car, I managed to make up some places.
“Alonso spun off in front of me and it was a close call, as quite a few of us were close to getting caught up in the accident," he continued. "I managed to get around it and got past Grosjean going into turn 3. From then on, I had a pretty good race, staying with Maldonado at first, but could not pass him.
"The last two stints were good, at first having a dual with Webber who was on a different strategy. Then right at the end I was holding off Michael and I was really pleased to have won that battle.”
His team mate Jean-Eric Vergne claimed 13th place. Arguably only bad luck - like not being able to pass the backmarker Caterham of Heikki Kovalainen at the start of the race - prevented him from joining Ricciardo in contention for a chance of points.
While happy with what he called an "enjoyable weekend," Vergne was nonetheless slightly downbeat about his start, which he saw as costing him a chance of points.
"I made a good start, but in general it could have been a better race for me, as I lost a lot of time behind Kovalainen in the first stint, as he was on the option [tyre] and had better traction out of the corners than I did," the Frenchman explained. "Also, at the second corner I came across Rosberg going backwards in front of me and I had to brake, which meant everyone went past me.
“After that, I just pushed as hard as I could, showing what the car could do, running a strong pace," he continued. "Losing three places on the grid with a penalty did not help, but yet again we showed that we can be strong on a Sunday, as we were faster than the Force India's and Senna.
"Now I only have to wait a few days to try again in Korea, where I first drove on Friday morning for Toro Rosso last year."
Team principal Franz Tost was also happy with the performance of both of his drivers at Suzuka, with the Austrian saying: “We have now scored in three of the last four races, which is very encouraging and is down to the efforts of everyone here at the track and back at the factory.
"Once again, we saw that our race pace allowed us to challenge for the points positions even from far back on the grid, therefore if we can improve our performance on Saturday afternoon, we can aspire to do better."
by Cameron Paterson