Toro Rosso

Different circuit, same result

2012 German Grand Prix Getty Images

Two weeks ago in Silverstone, Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne finished the British Grand Prix in thirteenth and fourteenth places and today’s German Grand Prix produced a carbon copy of that result.

If one is looking for positives to take away from a weekend that left Scuderia Toro Rosso bereft of points again, then one could say that the actual performance level of the STR7 was ever so slightly better in Germany than in England, with some small tweaks to the front wing helping the aero package to work a bit more effectively. We only have a few days now before being back in action at the very different Hungaroring, home to the Hungarian Grand Prix and crucially, the last event before a four week break in the F1 calendar. For two of those weeks, strict rules mean that our Faenza and Bicester facilities will be non-operational, but there is no rule preventing engineers from thinking about work while taking a well deserved rest on a beach somewhere! So the thinking time and the couple of weeks of normal operation will be an opportunity to regroup and try and move forward to have a more positive second half to this difficult and very closely contested season.

We have seen that with all the teams so closely matched, it does not take much for one’s fortunes to change. The perfect example of that would be Ferrari, who had a poor start to the season and yet, at the midway point, Fernando Alonso leads the Drivers’ championship, having taken his third win of the year here in Hockenheim today. It was a thrilling race, as the Spaniard had to fend off endless challenges from Jenson Button in the McLaren and Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull. However, with just two laps remaining the German passed the Englishman, but he had to go off the track to do so. The Stewards therefore gave our former driver a 20 second penalty which relegated him to fifth and put Button back in second spot. Although he never saw the podium, as this decision came after the race, Kimi Raikkonen is now classified third for Lotus.

In our part of the field, Jean-Eric did not have the best of starts, dropping from 15th on the grid to 20th, but in characteristically gritty fashion, he crossed the stripe in 13th place as the field came round for the first time. But a few laps later, the Frenchman’s race was seriously compromised, when he had to pit with a puncture. Daniel got away cleanly from 11th on the grid, and did a long first stint on the Option tyre, getting as high as sixth, before pitting on lap 19 for fresh rubber, which dropped him to fourteenth, one place behind Jev, who came in for new Primes on lap 27. Our French driver had a scary moment bouncing across the kerbs at one point but he was able to continue, while Daniel began to suffer from lack of grip at the rear, which meant he could not fend off Felipe Massa in the closing stages. Daniel made his final tyre change on lap 39 and Jev on lap 45. So yet again, our two boys finished in close company, 13th and 14th.

Only a few days to go before we start all over again at the Hungaroring, so for the team it’s a rush to get to Budapest and set up the garage and trucks, while our two drivers are also busy: Jean-Eric is off to Austria to the Red Bull Headquarters, while Daniel will be spending Monday working in the simulator. Sounds like everyone will really need that summer break!

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