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Toro Rosso miss out on points despite eventful race

28 October 2012

The two Toro Rosso drivers were in the thick of it during the 2012 F1 Grand Prix of India on Sunday, with Jean-Eric Vergne involved in a first lap incident that sent multiple former world champion Michael Schumacher limping back to the pits, and Daniel Ricciardo having a similar clash with Sergio Perez on lap 20.

"Immediately after the lights went out, I was caught up in a bit of a sandwich and had to brake harder and earlier than I wanted to," said Vergne, explaining what had happened at the start of the race.

"That meant I locked my wheels and made contact with the back of Schumacher's car. It broke my front wing, so I had to pit and my race was more or less over after that," he said, after doing all he could to recover to 15th place by the chequered flag.

" I continued to push as hard as I could, trying to do good lap times, but the performance of my car has not really been that great this weekend," he said. "In one way, it's a race to forget, but in another sense, we have to see what we can learn from it, so that we arrive in better shape in Abu Dhabi."

Ricciardo's clash with Sauber's Sergio Perez later in the race was a virtual replay of Vergne's incident. Perez had been looking to pass the Toro Rosso for several laps when he finally made the move on Ricciardo into turn 1, but cut across the front of the Australian's front wing and sliced his rear-right tyre open on the Toro Rosso's end-plate.

Fortunately Ricciardo's wing was undamaged by the contact and he was able to continue on track, finally finishing in 13th place after managing to hold off Perez' Sauber team mate Kamui Kobayashi during the final stages of the race. But he wasn't particularly happy with the way that his afternoon had gone, with his fate pretty much set on the first lap as he admitted after the chequered flag.

"It was quite an eventful first lap," he said. "I was on the dirty side of the grid, but to be honest I did the best I could with the grip level I had. It was not enough for me to keep my position as di Resta got ahead of me, and I passed Schumacher who had a problem after turn 1.

"There was some chaos at Turn 4 and I was three wide with Di Resta and Senna going into Turn 5, but I was on the outside and had to back off," he continued. "I tried to push hard after that during my first stint, but I did not have a very good feeling on the prime and was a bit off the pace."

Ricciardo was relieved to be able to ditch the prime tyres and switch to the softer options during his sole pit stop on lap 27.

"After I made my single stop to fit the option, the car felt much better and was able to get into a good rhythm and was pushing and pushing," he confirmed. "But it was not enough to catch di Resta and towards the end I had to defend from Kobayashi."

Ricciardo added that despite the incidents, the Indian GP was "not exactly an exciting race" from his point of view, but he added: "We can try again in just a few days in Abu Dhabi."

Vergne was also looking ahead to next weekend's race to turn around their fortunes and their spirits.

"We can be optimistic about the next round," said the Frenchman. "We have seen that, even when races are just one week apart, it doesn't mean one's performance is going to be the same at both of them!"


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