Toro Rosso

No rain no gain

2012 British Grand Prix Getty Images

Another race weekend in which everyone at Scuderia Toro Rosso put their heart and soul into their work, only to finish outside the points, with Daniel Ricciardo bringing his STR7 home in thirteenth place, one spot ahead of team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne. In fact, our drivers spent much of the race battling with one another, never quite having the pace to match those in the midfield who were ahead of us today.

Having started twelfth on the grid, promoted two places when others ahead of him on the qualifying sheet were given place penalties, Daniel might have had real hopes of a points finish. Unfortunately, although the start procedure worked perfectly during the dress rehearsal on the formation lap, he found himself bogged down on the spot, as his rear wheels spun, losing him a handful of places. An altercation further round the opening lap, when he was pushed wide and the luckless Australian was demoted to 17th at the end of the opening lap. Who was ahead of him? Why, his team-mate Jean-Eric, after the Frenchman had made a blinding start from 23rd on the grid, to work his way up to 16th as they crossed the stripe for the first of 52 times.

The French driver had started on the softer tyre and was therefore the first of our two to pit, on lap 14, while the Australian who ran Prime, Option, Prime, came in two laps later, running a short stint on the soft to stop again on lap 29, while Jean-Eric stayed out for his second stop until lap 32. They traded places a couple of times, with Daniel getting ahead on lap 8, Jean-Eric passing him on lap 36, with Daniel regaining the advantage when there were two laps to go to the chequered flag.

To sum up the race in the simplest terms from a Toro Rosso perspective, the rain that seemed to make us more competitive on Friday and Saturday, abandoned us this afternoon, while the huge crowd had to start removing all their waterproof layers, when the sun made an appearance at last: good for drying out the waterlogged car parks, but not so good when it came to wiping out the performance differential between the cars.

Pole man Fernando Alonso, nearly made it two consecutive victories, but his Soft tyres fitted at his final pit stop were not destined to last to the end and Mark Webber was able to overhaul him with five laps remaining, to take the win for Red Bull. Behind the Spanish Ferrari driver came the other Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel. The stoic British fans did not have much to cheer about from their home drivers, as Di Resta retired on the second lap and McLaren did not have a competitive weekend, with Hamilton finishing eighth, two places ahead of Button.

Assuming we get out of the quagmire that is Silverstone tonight, the bulk of the Toro Rosso crew should be back in Faenza in the early hours of Monday morning, when it will be time to start the job of trying to produce a more competitive package for Round 10 of the championship, the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim in a fortnight’s time. This is a busy month, given that the race at the Hungaroring then follows on just one week later.

 


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