Toro Rosso

66 laps for two places

2012 Spanish Grand Prix Getty Images

There’s no denying that life is tough for Scuderia Toro Rosso right now and after an hour and forty minutes of racing, Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo both made up two places compared to their grid positions to end the fifth round of the World Championship in twelfth and thirteenth places.

Everyone gave their all as usual, on track, in the garage and back home, but in the tight mid-field, making it to Q3 on Saturday afternoon is proving difficult and from then on, you are always going to struggle to bring home points. Jean-Eric got a great start and was up to tenth in the blink of an eye, while Daniel was temporarily demoted to sixteenth. If you were told last year that we were fighting with Red Bulls, McLarens and Ferraris, it would have been hard to believe but in the topsy turvy 2012 version of F1, this is the sort of unpredictable scenario that happens every race. Like the vast majority of the field our duo were on a three stop strategy, having started like everyone on the Option tyre. Apart from a glitch at Jean-Eric’s second stop when he began to let the clutch out too early, there were no specific problems you could point at during the afternoon and they both ran at a reasonable pace given the package they had. So it was something of an anonymous race during which, inevitably they raced one another a few times. We’ve seen that the situation can change very quickly this year, so the team will now be working hard to improve the car for Monaco in a fortnight’s time. Even if qualifying has shown itself to be slightly less important than in the past, the famous street circuit is one track where a good grid position is half the battle.

Could anyone have predicted this result, even after qualifying? Pastor Maldonaldo and his Williams was a hugely popular winner of the Spanish Grand Prix to ensure that five different teams have won the opening five rounds: that’s a quarter of the season gone by the way. The Venezuelan didn’t seem at all fazed about starting from pole and rigorously defended the number one slot off the grid, moving over decisively on Alonso. It was not quite decisive enough in the end and the Ferrari man led the opening stages much to the delight of his home crowd. The Ferrari man eventually dropped to second in the run of pit stops and the Williams man continued to a faultless win. Proving their Bahrain form was no fluke, Kimi Raikkonen was third, on the podium to help Alonso lift the winner shoulder high as the champagne came out.

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