Daniel Ricciardo says Toro Rosso needs to work to find more consistency from its STR8 following a solid run in the Spanish Grand Prix.
Ricciardo produced a fine drive in the middle stages of the Catalunya race to run inside the top six although he would ultimately find himself fighting hard in the closing stages of the race to stay ahead of the Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez.
The Australian driver managed to hold on to secure tenth place for his second points finish of the season but he said that the team now needed to work hard to extract the maximum from its car throughout a full race rather than just at points – as was the case in Barcelona.
“Coming away from the Circuit de Catalunya, I'm pleased that the race finished with the reward of a point but slightly disappointed also, because I think the car has the pace to finish higher – if we can only figure out how to extract it,” he said. “The race suggested that we're nearly there but not quite. In the beginning I thought we were nowhere. I wasn't happy with the balance of the car in that first stint– in fact I was angry because I knew the car had more potential and we just weren't using it.
“Then, the next two stints were really good. The car started working better, I was passing people instead of being passed. At that point I thought we were looking like scoring quite heavily. Then on the last two stints the pace dropped away again and we had to really scramble to hold on to tenth.
“What we've learned over the last few races is that there's a window in which our car is quick – really quick – but that window is very small. In the middle of the race we got into the window but at the beginning and the end we weren't quite there. The task in front of us is to understand more about what the car likes and doesn't like. That will allow us at least to get into the window more often – but hopefully make it bigger, with the car working across a wider range of conditions.”
Ricciardo admitted however that the result in Spain was the ideal way to bounce back from a disappointing result in Bahrain, where he was off the pace and could only finish down in 16th spot.
“What we had in Spain was a great response after a dire race in Bahrain,” he said. “The problem in Bahrain was one of those things that happen when you're in a hurry to develop the car. It was a harsh lesson but at the moment it's the way you learn. Without testing, this sort of trial and error is going on up and down the grid.”