Scott Speed produced arguably the most impressive performance of his grand prix career to take ninth place in Monaco - a four-place improvement on 2006 and agonisingly close to scoring a point - as the American embarrassed a number of more experienced drivers in more competitive cars.

After qualifying down in 18th spot, the Scuderia Toro Rosso star made an encouraging start to run 14th, and was promoted a further position when team-mate Tonio Liuzzi crashed out directly in front of him on the opening lap. He then continued to lap strongly and consistently through to the end of the race, ultimately taking the chequered flag ahead of both works Hondas, Williams sophomore Nico Rosberg, Red Bull Racing's David Coulthard and Renault ace Heikki Kovalainen.

"I got a good launch off the grid," the 24-year-old explained, "and as everyone bottled up going into turn one I made an aggressive move round the outside and it paid off as I got around David and we battled hard. Then I think we had a reasonably good pace in the race.

"In terms of the strategy maybe I should have pitted a bit earlier, but Kimi (Raikkonen) was out of reach anyway. I enjoyed myself. Every time for the last 15 laps I was hoping someone would drop out and that I'd see my pit board go from P9 to P8 to get that point, but it never happened."

Team principal Franz Tost was full of praise for his young charge's showing, particularly following a difficult first few races of the campaign that had seen Speed's position within the squad come under threat on a number of occasions.

"Scott had a very good start," the Austrian asserted, "going from 18th to thirteenth and he had his best-ever race for Toro Rosso. He deserved a point because he was always pushing very hard and the lap times were very consistent and very fast. All I can say to him is thanks and congratulations for a job well done."

"Scott drove a superb race," added team owner Gerhard Berger. "Today's performance shows the team has potential and hopefully that will be realised soon."



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