Slow puncture costs Vergne final point
25 August 2013 – Jean-Éric Vergne believes a slow puncture cost him a chance of recording the final point on offer during the Belgian Grand Prix, the Toro Rosso driver being picked off by team-mate and 10th-place finisher Daniel Ricciardo in the late stages of the race.
Having suffered a surprise elimination from the first qualifying phase on Saturday afternoon, Vergne was in the process of completing a spirited fight back at the Ardennes track, only to suffer the tyre issue from the beginning of his final stint.
"I think we could have done a bit better than 12th," began Vergne, "my pace was good until the final stint when I had a slow puncture almost right from the start of it, which meant my performance dropped off.
"A bit of a weekend to forget as it could have ended so much better, if we had not made a mistake in qualifying, but at least when things were going well it seems that our car has picked up some speed that was lacking before the break."
On the other side of the garage, Ricciardo said his Grand Prix "came alive" when he switched to Pirelli's Medium compound, the Australian delighted with his rise to 10th.
"It was nice to get that point!" Ricciardo said. "We ran a long first stint on the Hards and I think that helped us build a good base to have a strong pace in the final stints on the Medium. I felt much more comfortable on the Option tyre and that’s when my race really started. With the last set of tyres I was knocking out maybe ten or so qualifying laps and managed to pick off some cars in front to bring home that crucial point."
Ricciardo's result moves him to within one point of Vergne in the Drivers' standings.