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Vergne delighted with points at Sepang
25 March 2012
Jean-Eric Vergne might have missed out on Q2 in Saturday qualifying after flat-spotting his tyres at the start of a crucial flying lap, but he made amends for it by navigating the turbulent conditions on race day at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
"To go from eighteenth on the grid to eighth and in the points at the end is great!" he said.
Crucial to him was the ability to switch out his tyres while the cars were parked up on the track under red flag conditions, he explained.
"I stayed out for a long time on the intermediates after the start and then the red flag came along to help me so I was able to switch to extreme wets on the grid," he said. "If I'd had to resume behind the safety car on the intermediates it would have been very hard to stay on track!
"As soon as the track was dry enough I came in again for intermediates but I lost a bit of time before I made the switch to slicks," he added. "After that I was catching Di Resta, but with the backmarkers in between us I could not get close enough to pass, so I just managed the situation, concentrating on bringing the car home."
Overall, the experience of his first two Grand Prix outings has proved to be a positive one for the Frenchman.
"After these two opening races, the overall performance has been quite good and I feel we can make progress in China starting from this good base line," he said. "I am happy to settle for this eighth place and I plan to keep improving step by step."
His team mate Daniel Ricciardo has a less satisfying outing in the Malaysian Grand Prix, however, and missed out on the points this week with a 12th-placed finish.
"Unfortunately, after being delayed in the early stages, when I lost places after the start in the rain, I never managed to fight my way back into the points," said the young Australian. "I think there were moments in the race when I ran at quite a good pace, but I did not have that extra edge to move up the order."
"Melbourne we scored points with Daniel and now in Sepang, it was the turn of our rookie driver, Jean-Eric to secure his first ever F1 points!" said the team principal of the Scuderia Toro Rosso, Franz Tost. "Jean-Eric did an excellent job as it was the first time he has raced a F1 car in wet conditions. He made no mistakes and produced really good lap times and so this eighth place is well deserved."
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