June 9th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Toro Rosso finally had an opportunity to show what their car is capable of from a decent grid position in a dry race, and Jean-Eric Vergne made the most of his chance to shine, making up a place from seventh on the grid to finish sixth, his best ever result in a grand prix and Toro Rosso's best result since Sebastian Vettel raced for the team back in 2008.
This result comes hot on the heels of 8th place for Vergne at the previous race in Monaco. He is starting to rack up points finishes, which will do his aspirations to race for Red Bull no harm whatsoever. Vergne is now 12th in the Drivers' Championship, 6 points ahead of his Toro Rosso team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo, who is currently sitting 14th in the points table.
Vergne's race went according to plan, but the same cannot be said for Daniel Ricciardo's Canadian Grand Prix. Ricciardo struggled throughout the race with handling issues on the rear of his car, which he and the team were not immediately able to understand. Conditions in the race were quite different to those seen in practice and qualifying - the air temperature was significantly higher, which has a massive effect on the balance of the car. However, Vergne had no such problems, which suggests that there may have been a failure somewhere in Ricciardo's rear suspension.
Canada highlighted the strengths of the Toro Rosso car - power and top speed. There are no particularly fast corners on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, which might have shown the car's weaknesses more. The next race, at Silverstone, will provide a more thorough test of the all-round performance of the car. If Toro Rosso can score points at the British Grand Prix, it will bode well for the rest of the season.
Post-race quotes from Toro Rosso:
Jean-Eric Vergne: “Incredible! I’m very happy. The best result for me of course, but also the highest finishing position since Vettel’s results for the team in 2008. It is even more satisfying, because it was a normal race in the dry, with no one going out in front of me so we achieved this position fair and square. It’s a great result for the team as we are making progress race by race and it’s very encouraging for the rest of the season.
"It wasn’t too complicated, because we had the pace to maintain that position, although we did not have the speed of those ahead. I passed Bottas and Raikkonen and from then I managed my race, keeping an eye on Sutil who was behind me for much of the time. That meant I could never ease up until the flag.
"After finishing eighth in Monaco, this result on another difficult track has boosted my confidence and I feel I have progressed as a driver. We must continue to push hard on the development of the car, starting with the next race at Silverstone, so that we can aim even higher than this.”
Daniel Ricciardo: “I got a really good start, making up two positions off the line and then I was on the outside for Turn 2, which meant Hulkenberg took me back. When he ran wide at the chicane, I was ahead of him again and I gained another place when Sutil went off.
"At that point, I felt we could have a good race, but after just four laps, the car was oversteering like crazy and I couldn’t manage the tyres anymore. As the race went
on, we tried to improve the car balance and maybe we improved it a bit, but our pace was really slow. We didn’t change so much on the car since Friday, so why we were so slow is a mystery to me at the moment.”
Franz Tost: “Jean-Eric’s sixth place is a fantastic result for him, the team here in Canada and everyone who works so hard behind the scenes in Faenza and Bicester. This is our best result since Daniel finished seventh in China and it is Jev’s best ever F1 finish position.
"Our car has been making steady progress over the last few races and that was confirmed yesterday, when despite the difficult conditions, we got both our cars into the top ten on the grid, even if Daniel then had to drop one place. Jev did a great job to keep his concentration on this difficult track, just as he did when he finished in the points in Monaco a fortnight ago and here, he also managed his tyres very well, which meant that once he had secured sixth place, he was able to keep it all the way to the flag.
"Daniel has had a tougher weekend and quite quickly in today’s race, he suffered a lack of grip at the rear and found the car unstable over the kerbs. But he can fight back from this disappointment and I expect both our drivers to challenge for points again in Silverstone in two weeks time.”