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Despite being primed for a future with one of the Red Bull teams in F1, few expected Jean-Eric Vergne to be anything other than a reserve in 2012 but, following the abrupt eviction of both Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastian Buemi, the 2010 British F3 champion was thrust into the spotlight with Toro Rosso. Qualifying strongly in Melbourne was a good start, as was a points finish second time out in Malaysia, but the Frenchman, like Toro Rosso itself, was more often ‘bubbling under’. Eighth place would be his best result, and one he achieved four times, including three times from Belgium onwards, as Vergne ended his debut season ahead of vaunted STR team-mate Daniel Ricciardo. His performance still wasn’t enough for some critics, who remained convinced that Vergne would be dumped for 2013, but the Frenchman remains under the Red Bull umbrella, and in an unchanged line-up, for at least one more year.