Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo has conceded he was puzzled by his lack of pace during the 2013 F1 German Grand Prix.
Ricciardo qualified a fantastic sixth for the race at the Nurburgring. However, as the afternoon progressed he slipped further and further back, struggling with the harder medium compound tyres, despite making three stops. He eventually finished up twelfth and consequently scored nil points.
“A frustrating and rather dull race for me,” said the Aussie, who is one of the names in the frame to replace Mark Webber at Red Bull in 2014. “After the start, I was able to hold position on the Option, but once we pitted for the Prime tyre, I really struggled for pace and couldn't push as hard as I wanted to in order to get more out of the car.
“I did try to push more, but the car wouldn't take it and I began to lock the brakes and slide too much, as I didn't have enough grip. This meant I had to drive more smoothly, but it was very frustrating going round and round, gradually slipping backwards. I can't explain why for now, so we will need to look at the data to see why we were just too slow for much of the weekend.”
Team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne meanwhile failed to finish, stopping around one third of the way through the grand prix when he suffered a hydraulic problem.
“There's not much to say today, because after not having a good pace all weekend, today there was no change,” stated the Frenchman. “I found the car very difficult to drive right from the start, then there was the moment at my pit stop, when I had to brake hard to avoid [Paul] di Resta who was released from his pit right in front of me, which cost me more time.
"On lap 23 the team told me they had spotted a fault with the hydraulics and called me in to retire. It's extremely disappointing, as this is my second consecutive race retirement. A weekend to forget.”
“Naturally, it is disappointing not to score any points this weekend,” summarised Toro Rosso team principal, Franz Tost, “especially after Daniel had secured a sixth place on the grid. In the current era of F1 where retirements are rare, it is particularly frustrating that we had to call Jean-Eric into the garage with a hydraulic problem.
“We didn't have the pace we needed today and Daniel did what he could, fighting with the Saubers and Force Indias, finishing ahead of one of each of them, but we were not quick enough to chase the McLarens, which were very strong. For these reasons, we just fell out of the points zone. As for our strategy, it was fairly clear that three stops was the way to go for the majority. We knew this weekend would be a bit more difficult for us, as the track would not be best suited to the characteristics of our car."
“However, we have a few new updates planned for Hungary and before that we have two weeks to try and make further progress with our car,” Tost concluded.