21 September 2014
F1 Singapore Grand Prix: Vergne defies penalties to claim P6
Jean-Eric Vergne picked up two penalties in the Singapore F1 Grand Prix, but also picked up sixth place and eight points for Toro Rosso...
Jean-Eric Vergne produced his best result of 2014, despite being hit with not one, but two, penalties in the course of the Singapore Grand Prix.
Having missed out on the top ten in qualifying, the Frenchman – who is without a seat for 2015 following Toro Rosso's decision to sign teenager Max Verstappen – was determined to claw back as many points as possible in the two-hour race, but his ambition overstepped the mark early on as he exceeded track limits during a passing move.
While that move was addressed with a stop-go penalty, a similar indiscretion when passing Pastor Maldonado's Lotus in the closing stages left Vergne knowing that he'd have five seconds added to his overall race time, and that appeared to spur him to extra effort as he rose from ninth to sixth in the space of two laps.
Once past an ailing Valtteri Bottas, the Frenchman knew that he still had to build enough of a gap over his pursuers to ensure that he did not lose any positions in the final reckoning and, despite the limited laps available before the chequered flag, did just that to claim eight welcome points.
"It feels great,” he grinned afterwards, “It was a fantastic race and I'm extremely happy, especially considering the two five-second penalties. I had to push as much as possible in the last laps to pull away, and this is what I've done. I had a lot of fun overtaking the ones in front of me, [it was] an incredible race.
“I made a mistake in qualifying and said to the team that I would have done everything for them to forgive me today - and I think I could manage it in the end. I'm really happy for the guys, as they gave me a good car and the sixth place repays their big effort.
“We deserved it [and] I'm really confident we can have a good end of the season together. I'm looking forward to Japan, where we also have some updates. Hopefully, we can improve even further."
“We are very, very pleased!” STR chief race engineer Phil Charles confirmed, “JEV drove an absolutely fantastic race.
“He had to deal with two five-second penalties but, having taken his first, with the second, we knew the time would be added on at the end, so we kept him informed of the gap to those behind him and, after he pulled off some brilliant passing moves, he managed to finish more than the five seconds ahead of the seventh placed driver, so he keeps his sixth place.
“He did absolutely everything right. The team worked very well today and everything generally went to plan, with the strategy working out well, so we are all very happy for JEV. He has been due a decent result, because he's been doing a good job this year, but has had more than his share of bad luck.”
Team-mate Daniil Kvyat struggled to live up to his top ten grid position as he learned a lot about racing in Singapore….
“It was a very tough race today, in which I had to fight more with myself than with the cars around me,” the Russian rookie admitted, “I had a problem with my drink system, so I was without water for the whole race, which definitely made it a much tougher race.
“The car was quite difficult to drive and was sliding a lot, so it was hard work to take care of the tyres. I think points could have been possible, so well done to JEV, who did a great job today!"
Vergne's eight points cements his 13th place in the drivers' standings, pulling him clear of his tem-mate in the process.
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