Vergne: China should give clearer picture
1 April 2013 – Toro Rosso driver Jean-Éric Vergne reckons the upcoming Chinese Grand Prix holds the potential to yield a much clearer picture of the Formula 1 pecking order, with rainfall affecting the opening two race weekends in Australia and Malaysia.
The Frenchman, who recorded his team's maiden points finish of 2013 at Sepang, says there are still questions to be answered in terms of outright car performance.
"A lot of people were saying Malaysia, being the first purpose-built track of the year would give an indication of the pecking order but, honestly, with the rain and the heat and everything I still think it’s way too early to tell," 22-year-old Vergne explained during his blog on the official Toro Rosso website. "If it’s warm in China we might get a clearer picture, but last year it was freezing cold, so who knows."
Vergne added that he has been encouraged by the pace of the STR8 chassis so far this season, but admits qualifying must be improved to exploit its full potential.
"What I do think is that the pace of the car is encouraging," he explained. "I had the fourth fastest time in Malaysia. Yes, it was set on fresh Options and light tanks but it’s the same for everyone at that stage, so the performance is definitely in the car.
"I think we don’t necessarily maximise the performance on Fridays or in qualifying, so that’s where the improvements need to come. However, the race pace is good and that’s encouraging as we go forwards."