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Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost has explained that current drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Éric Vergne have both shown 'sparkle' during the 2012 campaign so far, a quality that he believes is vital to future success in modern day Formula 1.
Despite the pair scoring just one points finish to date, Vergne - who joined the sport this season - impressed Tost with his maiden Monaco weekend, while Ricciardo produced what Tost labelled a 'really fantastic performance' to reach Q3 in Bahrain.
"What I am expecting is that a highly-skilled driver shows at least one sparkle," Tost told the official Formula 1 website. "Daniel did that for me in Bahrain as it was a really fantastic performance and Jean-Éric did it in Monaco. To be in P7 as a first timer in a Formula 1 car at Monaco is quite remarkable."
With the squad failing to score points since Malaysia, Tost reckons a number of missed opportunities are more to blame than the team's current car performance.
"We had possibilities, we had chances, but we didn’t seize them," he added. "For example Daniel started from P6 in Bahrain and couldn’t profit from it, and Jean-Eric was in P7 ten laps before the chequered flag in Monaco but finished 12th.
"In Valencia Daniel was in a promising position where he could have easily finished in the points before some contact cut short his ambitions. Last weekend was not exactly what we were looking for as we definitely were better in the wet.
"So no points again, but both cars finished the race and mileage is all that matters for rookies. So we have definitely not taken a step backwards but our competitors are working better. Maybe we have gained two- or three-tenths of a second, but the others have gained maybe four- or five-tenths."
After nine races, Toro Rosso sits ninth in the Constructors' standings with six points.
Scuderia Toro Rosso
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|Scuderia Toro Rosso|
|15 May||Tost: Drivers need to perform exceptionally|
|12 May||Points-scoring Ricciardo left wanting more|
|14 Apr||'I didn't know Webber was there' – Vergne|
|5 Feb||Toro Rosso eyes Renault engines for '14|
|4 Feb||Toro Rosso targets sixth in 2013 standings|
|6 Sep '12||Tost: A new chapter for Toro Rosso|
|1 May||Marko 'not worried' about 2014 line-up|
|29 Apr||F1 photos: Ricciardo gives demo at Aragon|
|14 Apr||Ricciardo: everything clicked into place|
|15 Apr||Video: Webber, Vergne collide in China|
|14 Apr||Webber handed three-place grid penalty|
|1 Apr||Vergne: China should give clearer picture|
|20 May||Mallya targets double top ten in Monaco|
|20 May||Hamilton enjoys Le Mans MotoGP visit|
|20 May||Lowe to complete Mercedes move in June|
|More Franz Tost photos|
|More Daniel Ricciardo photos|
|More Jean-Eric Vergne photos|