Vergne celebrates 'best race of the year'
14 October 2012
Toro Rosso came away from the Yeongam Circuit in Korea with its best result of an at times difficult F1 2012 season - securing a double points finish.
The team's driver pairing of Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo finished eighth and ninth respectively to bring home a collective six points, though the team remain entrenched in ninth position in the Constructor's Championship.
Vergne trailed his fellow rookie for much of the race, however he was able to take advantage of a problem with the front of Ricciardo's car to move ahead in the latter stages, in a dice that also saw him go wheel to wheel with Lewis Hamilton, before the Mclaren driver faded.
After the race, Vergne was effusive in praise of his team and fellow competitors.
“I am really really happy, as this was definitely my best race of the year and the car worked well with very little tyre degradation on both the Prime and the Option," he said. "I did not take too many risks at the start and I had a nice fight with Perez in the early stages and then with Di Resta and also Hamilton.
“Dan and I were on different strategies and both seemed to be effective. Towards the end, I was told that my team-mate had a problem, but overall for the team, to get eighth and ninth with Daniel also driving a great race is a fantastic result.
“Everyone in the team worked very hard on improving the car throughout the weekend. In general, we seem to be making progress and this track seemed to suit us well, which I think we can also expect to be the case in India. The best part of the race? Seeing the chequered flag in the points!”
Vergne's team mate, Ricciardo, refused to be too downbeat despite losing eighth place to the Frenchman, though he conceded to being disappointed, as any racer would be.
“I got a good start and made up a couple of positions on the opening lap," he said. "After that, I got into a really good rhythm and was able to pick off cars ahead of me one by one. Jev was in front and as he got past a car, I was able to follow him through.
“The second stint also saw us jump a few cars, getting ahead of Schumacher and Force India. Then my last stint on the Prime was my best until, with about ten laps to go, I found myself going straight on at Turn 3 and at first I thought it must have been a suspension failure because the car suddenly shot to the left and I could not stop it.
“However, I realised I could keep going, even if every time I braked the car pulled to the left and I was locking the front a lot. Unfortunately, that cost me eighth place, but at least I was able to give it up to my team-mate. I'm still grateful to be in the points with such a problem, although it's a case of mixed emotions, as it would have been my best result of the season. But for the team overall, it's been a very good day.”
by Philip Barclay