Toro Rosso will be pleased to put the Hungarian Grand Prix behind them after a taxing weekend for the team ultimately ended with both Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo finishing outside of the points at the Hungaroring.
Daniel Ricciardo, who lined up eight on the grid, having made it into the top 10 in qualifying for the fourth consecutive time, admitted that he struggled from the very moment the lights went out as he simply couldn’t match the pace of those around him.
“Right from the start, it was clear we weren’t really quick”, said the Australian. “I tried to hold position as long as I could but we were way too slow. I tried my best in terms of trying to maintain a good pace and look after the tyres, but today it was not enough to go looking for points.”
The 24-year-old, who finished 13th and a lap down, pointed the finger for his woes at the high heat experienced at the Hungaroring, with temperatures reaching 510C on track and 350C in the air.
“We struggled at Nurburgring as well, so the heat has got something to do with it. We could not match our competitors today, just lacking speed when we have a heavy fuel load, which is the opposite of what we tended to see with last year’s car.”
Jean-Eric Vergne in the sister Toro Rosso had been hopeful of a strong race after Ricciardo’s qualifying effort on Saturday but his hopes were quickly dashed after a poor start, and despite leading his team–mate home in 12th felt that it was inconsequential after such a difficult race for the team.
“A difficult race after we saw yesterday, particularly with Daniel, that the car has a good pace, but in the race we struggled and we could not match our usual rivals”, he said. “I did what I could after a bad start, which meant I had to fight to get back to where I was. Beating my team-mate? It means nothing, especially when we are outside the points. I’d rather finish behind him inside the points.
Despite the disappointing end to the first half of the season for the Faenza based team, the Frenchman is still hopeful of a turnaround, and is doing all he can to be fully prepared for when the field reconvenes in Belgium.
“The holiday starts soon, but my focus is still on racing and I will be doing a lot of training to be in good shape to have a strong second half of the season. We still have a week to go when, along with the engineers, there will be a lot of work for us to do.”
Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost echoed the comments of his driver Daniel Ricciardo, in that the biggest problem currently facing the team is their lack of pace when racing in hot temperatures, and that this would have to be overcome if they were to hope to get bck amongst the points.
“A difficult race for us, as it highlighted what appears to be our weak point at the moment, namely racing in hot conditions and with track temperatures exceeding 50 degrees, this was the hottest grand prix of the year.
“Hopefully, when we return to race in cooler conditions, we can once again get back in the points. However, there will be more hot races, so we must investigate ways of improving our car for these conditions.”
Toro Rosso currently sits seventh in the Constructors Championship with 24 points, 17 points ahead of Sauber, but 33 points adrift of Mclaren.
Images courtesy of Octane Photographic