17 November 2013
United States Grand Prix: ‘Tough end’ as Ricciardo misses point
Toro Rosso remained scoreless in Austin as Daniel Ricciardo saw tenth place snatched from his grasp in the final moments of the USGP.
Daniel Ricciardo left the Circuit of the Americas empty-handed after losing grip of the final point late in the US Grand Prix.
The Australian started from the outside of row five and held his ground through the first third of the race but, having lost ground to Nico Rosberg, battled back into contention as he made a one-stop strategy work in his favour. Starting on the option tyre, Ricciardo finally got back into the points by lap 42, and appeared set to hold on to tenth place until his primes began to drop off in the closing stages.
With just over a lap to go, Jenson Button was all over the back of the Toro Rosso and, having had a series of looks rebuffed by the Red Bull protégé, finally made a move stick around the outside of turn one.
“It was a tough end to the day, really tough,” Ricciardo lamented, “It was very difficult to overtake in the early stages, when the cars were full of fuel, and it wasn't easy to stay with the car in front through the fast corners, so we had to be patient.
“It looked as though we were going to hang on to the flag to get the point for tenth place, but then, in the last five laps, I lost pretty much all the grip I had and saw the guys closing in on me.
“I tried to hold them off, but I didn't have enough left in the tyres to do it. It's frustrating to get that close, but I put up the best fight I could and there was nothing more I could have done today.”
Team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne started with the intention of completing a two-stop gameplan but, with the relatively durable Pirelli tyres lasting longer than expected, was switched to a similar strategy to Ricciardo. Even though he initially had to take care of the medium compound, he was allowed to push in the final stages and came close to adding to Ricciardo's misery before tangling with Esteban Gutierrez with the flag in sight.
“The final result was nothing special, but I feel I had a good race,” the Frenchman reported, “We had planned a two-stop [strategy], but switched to a single tyre change and, for the second part of the race, I was told I had to manage my options carefully.
“I was given the go-ahead to push again with 15 laps to go and, at that point, my race pace was quite good, so I feel we did a good job with the car we had. On the last lap, I tried to pass my team-mate at turn one, but it didn't work and we ran wide - I think he had used a bit of KERS on the straight, so I couldn't pass him.”
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