All smiles as Toro Rosso doubles up
14 October 2012 – The Korean Grand Prix delivered Toro Rosso’s equal best result of the 2012 Formula 1 season, with Jean-Éric Vergne leading home Daniel Ricciardo just as he had in Belgium last month. This meant a points haul of six at Yeongam.
Both drivers kept out of trouble at the start and, as a recovering Lewis Hamilton threatened in the closing stages, Ricciardo sensibly allowed his team-mate through. Both the Frenchman and Australian were then let off the hook as Hamilton ran wide and picked up a chunk of loose artificial grass which hampered his handling.
“I am really, really happy, as this was definitely my best race of the year and the car worked well with very little tyre degradation on both the Prime and the Option,” said Vergne, delighted with tyre performance. “I did not take too many risks at the start and I had a nice fight with Pérez in the early stages and then with di Resta and also Hamilton. Dan and I were on different strategies and both seemed to be effective.
“Towards the end, I was told that my team-mate had a problem, but overall for the team to get eighth and ninth - with Daniel also driving a great race - is a fantastic result. Everyone in the team worked very hard on improving the car throughout the weekend. In general, we seem to be making progress and this track seemed to suit us.”
Ricciardo also wore his usual smile despite mixed emotions.
“I got a good start and made up a couple of positions on the opening lap,” he recalled. “After that, I got into a really good rhythm and was able to pick off cars ahead of me one by one. JEV was in front and, as he got past a car, I was able to follow him through. The second stint also saw us jump a few cars, getting ahead of Schumacher and Force India.
“Then my last stint on the Prime was my best until, with about ten laps to go, I found myself going straight on at Turn 3; at first I thought it must have been a suspension failure because the car suddenly shot to the left and I could not stop it. However, I realised I could keep going, even if every time I braked the car pulled to the left and I was locking the front a lot. Unfortunately, that cost me eighth place, but at least I was able to give it up to my team-mate. I’m still grateful to be in the points.”