Despite the pendulum of good results at Toro Rosso appearing to have swung back in favour of Daniel Ricciardo, team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne insists that he will not allow himself to be distracted – even though there could be a potential seat at Red Bull Racing on the line.
The Frenchman appeared to have seized the upper hand with back-to-back points finishes in Monaco and Canada but, ever since Mark Webber confirmed his intention to quit F1 at the end of the 2013 campaign, Ricciardo has turned in the better results, with a top ten in qualifying at Silverstone being followed by eighth place in the race, and another Q3 appearance at the Nurburgring. Vergne, by contrast, took 13th on the grid in Britain and sandwiched a DNF in that race with 16th spot in qualifying for the German GP.
“We tried something with the tyres on my car and not on his,” the Frenchman told the official F1 website, “We split the two cars to be on the safe side with at least one car. What we've tried today on my car you can only do in qualifying so, for the race, I expect to have a good performance. I am not stressed about the qualifying and not stressed about the race performance tomorrow.”
Vergne also appears unfazed by his team-mate's return to form, even though their relative performance between now and the end of the season could open the door to a potential race – and title – winning car.
“I don't think about it,” he insisted, “Of course, I would love to race for Red Bull Racing as they have the best car and, as a driver, you always want to be in the best car, but I am not thinking about next year.
“[Ricciardo] can have good result - my tyre exploded in Silverstone otherwise I would have had a good result myself. It doesn't change my life. It doesn't change my career. Everybody knows it and the people in the team know what I could have done. So that's it. I am racing for myself and not anyone else.
“I am thinking about the here and now and it is there where I want to do the best job possible. Then let's see what happens. Something always good has happened to me by thinking in this way so I will stick to it.”
Even though Kimi Raikkonen remains the favourite to partner Sebastian Vettel next season, Vergne insists that his focus will not waver from the job at hand.
“Of course, you always want to beat your team-mate so, from this point of view, nothing will change,” he insisted, “I have done the job everybody was expecting. I am quick and I am a racer that can win championships. Since last year, I have improved massively - I feel I am improving at every race – and [Franz Tost] would like to keep me should it not work with the Red Bull cockpit.”