27 October 2013
Indian Grand Prix: Long stint earns Ricciardo a point
Toro Rosso gambled with divergent strategies for its drivers, and it was Daniel Ricciardo running for 33 laps on his first set of tyres tat claimed the reward.
Daniel Ricciardo started the Indian Grand Prix from 11th place on the grid, and an hour and a half later he was just one position further forward as he crossed the finish line, but crucially all the hard work netted a valuable championship point as Toro Rosso seek to improve their position in the constructors standings heading into the final three rounds of the 2013 season.
“I am pretty pleased with today's performance," he said afterwards, although that point only fell to him late in the day when the team's arch rivals at Sauber were forced to park Nico Hulkenberg six laps from the finish.
Ricciardo's strategy was to run as long as possible on his first set of medium prime tyres. That saw him up to third place before his pit stop on lap 33, but then a five-lap stint on the short-lived options followed by a quick second stop dropped him all the way down to 14th place for the remaining 21 laps.
"I thought we were looking better than a tenth place finish," he admitted. "Especially after the first stint went well and the pace was looking good.
"It seemed as though we could have matched Sutil and Di Resta, so there's a little bit of disappointment about the fact I couldn't get past them and get a couple more points," he added. "[But] generally, I am pleased with what I did in the car."
"We knew it would be more difficult [in the final stint] and he had a good fight with the guys around him," said Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost. "Towards the end, he found himself in a slow train and could not pass Sutil."
His team mate Jean-Eric Vergne also moved up a place on his starting grid position - although in his case this still left him in 13th place - by using the completely contrary strategy of pitting as soon as possible to ditch the option tyres - at the end of lap 1 - leaving him working his way forward through the traffic.
"With Jev, we tried the more extreme strategy of starting him on the soft," explained Tost. "In itself that was fine, because di Resta was able to get a good result having made the same choice. But we lacked pace with Jev during the race and we struggled to move up the order, so he finished one place higher than he started, just as Daniel did."
“I think the strategy we had was a good one, coming in very early to get rid of the soft tyre," insisted Vergne. "It could have paid off to the extent of getting into the points, but we were just too slow, even though we did everything we could.
"I just couldn't do better today, so of course I am disappointed, because making up one place from my grid position is not really enough," he added. "At least we only have a few days to wait before trying again in Abu Dhabi."
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