HUNGARORING, 27th July 2014 (F1Plus / Graham Keilloh) - Jean-Eric Vergne was one of the many stars of an eventful Hungarian Grand Prix today.
He finished in P9 for Toro Rosso but along the way, thanks in some part to a couple of safety car periods and varying tyre strategies, he was able to indulge in a lengthy battle with the leaders. He even ran in P2 – robustly defending against the likes of Nico Rosberg – for a while.
“Really pleased with the race, that was a fun race…everything just went perfect in the race.” said a very content Vergne afterwards.
Vergne admitted also that – in such a haughty position – he was unsure initially how to approach things. “To be honest at the beginning I thought ‘we’re not going to fight with those guys’, but then I thought ‘I’m here so let’s fight!’”
But Vergne admitted too that such was the fundamental pace in his Toro Rosso compared with the cars around him at the front that finishing in that sort of position was never likely.
“I’m not a dreamer, I don’t have the car to keep up with those guys…the points were always the target.”
“Nothing could have got me on the podium…”.
Vergne also felt that his fighting today among the sport’s biggest names meant that it was a good opportunity to demonstrate his driving potential to a lot of people.
“It’s important for me to show off a little bit, I think we’ve done a good job keeping this place even though we didn’t have the pace. So I think it was really an important race for me.
“I know I am a good racer from the past, I just never had the car in F1 to fight with these guys, so to be there with them it’s quite rare to show your potential. So I think it was a good opportunity for me.”
He also feels that he’s been competitive for most of the season, but that non-finishes rather shrouded the pace that he has been doing.
“I think it was a clean weekend, a strong weekend, to be fair I’ve had many many good weekends but I just had many DNFs so unfortunately no one could see it was a strong weekend, but in fact it was.”
After yet another race starting in the top ten, and this time avoiding mechanical failures, Vergne also looked ahead to the races after the summer break with optimism.
“We just need to improve the performance of the car, and I’m sure step-by-step we will get there and we will be strong in the second part of the season, I am pretty sure about that.”
As for his own future in the beyond 2014 Vergne was defiant.
“I don’t mind what’s going to happen for next season, I’m not scared, I really want to do the maximum I have this season, I really take it easy race after race and then only the best will happen if I do a good job.”