After the success of getting both cars into the top ten in qualifying, Toro Rosso
might have been hoping for slightly more reward than simply Daniel Ricciardo maintaining seventh position.
But in a day when things could so easily have gone wrong - as evidenced by Ricciardo's team mate Jean-Eric Vergne retiring on lap 14 with engine issues - the driver himself was happy to secure the position and the points that came with it.
“I am pleased with that!" said Ricciardo, making his first race appearance since being confirmed as Red Bull's new driver for 2014 once Mark Webber
retires from F1. "After qualifying well yesterday, it was nice to maintain that position at the end of today.
"In recent races where we have managed to qualify in the top ten, we didn't have the pace to stay there in the race, but today we did," he pointed out. "I think I got the most out of the car, managing to keep the guys behind me and the low downforce set–up certainly helped us down the straights.
"The others got close to me in the second sector, but I was able to pull away once we got to the high speed sections, which we knew from yesterday would be our strong point," he added. "We must keep pushing hard on the car development for the next few races, because hopefully, a top five finish is not too far away."
Ricciardo's boss, Toro Rosso's team principal Franz Tost, was thrilled by the Australian's display.
"An excellent performance from Daniel and the entire team resulted in us finishing a well deserved seventh at one of the most famous races on the calendar, which also happens to be our home grand prix," he said. "With Daniel, our race ran to plan, although in the early stages we had some concerns about whether tyre degradation would allow us to run our one-stop strategy, but it actually worked out fine.
"He did a great job of maintaining his position, while looking after his tyres. His afternoon was complicated by the fact he was hardly ever in a position to use DRS, except when coming up behind backmarkers, while the cars behind him were able to use it and close right up to him," Tost said.
Unfortunately even making it to the midway point of the race proved far beyond the second Toro Rosso
car, as Vergne explained.
“Everything was going well, I wasn't actually in a battle at the time and was conserving my tyres and controlling Button behind me quite easily," sighed the Frenchman. "Then I felt something was wrong and had to stop at the side of the track.
"I said on the radio I thought the engine had gone, but actually it was still running and it seems I had some sort of transmission problem," he explained. "A real shame, especially as I knew my final stint on the Hard tyre would be even stronger. I would definitely have finished quite high up in the points as the guys ahead were not pulling away from me. I seem to be suffering a lot of bad luck this season, but I keep believing the turning point will come soon.”
"It was a real shame that he again had some bad luck," concurred Tost. "Having made a good start, he too was holding position but had to retire with a transmission problem, the cause of which we now need to investigate."