Scuderia Toro Rosso have proved that one race can make all the difference after they stormed up to seventh in the constructor standings following a marvellous fourth and sixth place finish for Sebastian Vettel and Vitantonio Liuzzi in China.

Gaining eight crucial points for their troubles, STR have risen three places in the standings, ahead of Spyker, Super Aguri and Honda after a superb performance that combined good strategy with genuine speed.

Going a long way to vindicating himself after the criticism of his exit from the Japanese Grand Prix, Vettel led the team's charge in fourth place to smash the team's previous best result of eighth place at the United States Grand Prix in 2006.

However, while that came about in a race of attrition, both Vettel and Liuzzi managed their feats with strong pace that embarrassed their better funded rivals, including siblings Red Bull Racing, who had started ahead of them.

For the early part of the race it was Liuzzi that was the team's star driver, getting a great start from 11th place to be running inside the top eight in the early stages, battling with RBR, Renault and - most significantly - BMW.

However, while his two-stop strategy saw him slip back slightly in the second half of the race, Vettel's unique one-stop tactic worked perfectly as it saw him pit at the time when the changing conditions demanded a slick tyre.

With others ahead forced to pit, Vettel, who had started 17th following a five-place grid penalty, soared up the leaderboard to fourth place, a position he held to the finish by a superb 15 seconds. A landmark result in only his seventh race, Vettel was thrilled.

"P4! A Fantastic race. In the beginning it was quite difficult, starting in the mid field. For a couple of metres the visibility was okay and then you got all the spray. After the start, I used my momentum to go round the outside of several cars. Even though it was really slippery I took the risk. I kept pushing as hard as I could.

"After I passed Kovalainen I had a clear track ahead of me and was able to push harder. Just as I changed to dry tyres the rain came, but fortunately it went away quickly. I fought with Jenson, but when we realized he was on a two stopper, I didn't worry. The last 20 laps were unbelievable and even though I had the situation under control and slowed the pace, it was tough. A fantastic day for the whole team, especially with Tonio in P6.

"Yesterday I wasn't happy with my grid penalty but today I got my revenge on the track. Finish fourth is fantastic. When I left the factory in Italy, the guys said 'Sebastian, you must bring back some points' and I said I'd try. In Fuji we got close and today came this great result. Now I will celebrate with the team who did a great job in the pit stops and with the strategy."

Coming a week after Vettel threw a possible podium away and Liuzzi saw his point in Fuji docked, the Italian claims that is all forgotten now. Indeed, with that career-best sixth place, Liuzzi's stock for a drive in 2008 has certainly received a boost...

"This was a great race from start to finish with everything going perfectly. I think Sebastian's one- stop strategy was better but that does not matter now. It is fantastic for the team that we both scored points. I made no mistakes and had some great fights with Williams, Renault and BMW. I don't think we could have done more than this.

"I am really happy for the team who really deserve these points. Many times this year, we have shown that we were capable of scoring points, but somehow we never got them. Now everyone can be happy and it shows that the team is growing and that all the guys are doing a great job. Now we can go to Brazil in a really positive frame of mind after showing what we can do, both here and in Fuji last week. We deserve this result."

 

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