25 March 2013
Vergne: Pit lane error 'cost us so much'
Jean-Eric Vergne: We must use that time to take a close look at how we performed and where we can do better, because there is certainly a lot of room for improvement
Jean-Eric Vergne has called on Toro Rosso to learn from the 'missed opportunities' in Australia and Malaysia.
The Frenchman finished tenth in Sepang on Sunday, but while he said he was glad to get the point and get off the mark, he felt he could have done 'something better' had he not lost time in his first pit stop, when he was released prematurely and crashed into the Caterham of Charles Pic.
Toro Rosso was later fined by the stewards for the incident, although Vergne himself wasn't penalised.
“It's good to finish in the points, but it's a shame that a mistake in the pits cost us so much, as I could have done something better. So, overall I feel rather frustrated. But I'll take the point gladly,” he said after the second round in the F1 2013 World Championship.
“After these first two races, we now have a short break before we go racing again and we must use that time to take a close look at how we performed and where we can do better, because there is certainly a lot of room for improvement, as both these two races have been missed opportunities.
“On the positive side though, again today, once we got over our problems I had a good race pace and managed to make up a lot of places.”
Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in contrast was unable to finish in the top-ten and had to retire a few laps from the end due to an exhaust issue. He was, however, still classified in 18th - although in reality his race was ruined before it had even begun when he went off on his out-lap to the grid.
“I compromised my race even before the start when the conditions were very slippery, aquaplaning off at Turn 3. I managed to keep going, but I went across the gravel quite fast and damaged the floor. That probably played a part in my problem at the end [too],” said the Aussie.
“I then got a reasonable start and made up a few places and was pretty pleased with the first couple of laps. But I did not have the pace to keep the Lotuses behind me and stay in the top ten, even though the switch to dry tyres was well timed.
“Like I said, I think the damage on that opening lap affected my overall performance all race long.”
Toro Rosso boss, Franz Tost meanwhile added that the main thing the team need to address going forward is qualifying.
“In general, our race performance was good today, but we are too slow in qualifying. We have to find a way of improving on Saturday afternoons, so that we give ourselves a better start on Sundays,” he stated.
Tost also conceded that the stewards were right to fine the team for an unsafe release.
“Unfortunately we had a poor release from Jev's pit stop and he collided with a Caterham which cost us a lot of time, as we had to pull him back for a new nose. The Stewards have fined us for a dangerous release from a pit stop and we agree with their decision.
"After that, Jev did a good job to fight back and get into the points ahead of that midfield group, which is quite an achievement on a dry track. The fact our race pace was satisfactory was the most positive point of the race," Tost concluded.
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