The Toro Rosso duo of Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo have been left confounded after a step in the wrong direction from the Faenza-based-squad saw them struggle in the afternoon session at Monza.
Having been 10th and 13th respectively in Free Practice One, Vergne and Ricciardo slumped down the field in the afternoon session, as both drivers struggled at the wheel of their STR8’s.
Ricciardo, who was recently announced as Mark Webber’s replacement at Red Bull Racing for 2014, ending months of speculation, explained that the team had taken a “wrong direction” in FP2 which disrupted his cars balance and had led the Australian to make a number of mistakes as he wrestled with its handling.
“Our performance was quite good this morning and we tried to improve for FP2, but unfortunately, we seem to have gone in the wrong direction”, said the 24-year-old. “Having run only the Hard in the morning, in the afternoon, I did not set a competitive time on the Medium.
“I did make some mistakes and I will admit to that, but there were too many of them so we definitely need to get the car to suit me a bit better. At the moment, it’s on a knife edge.”
However, despite these setbacks, Ricciardo took some pleasure in the fact that his car had worked better on the long-runs, which left him feeling positive for Sunday’s race.
“I was happier on the long run I did this afternoon and that was the most positive aspect.”
Vergne, in the sister STR8, blamed an unexplainable lack of balance and grip for his Friday woes, but remains confident that the team can bounce-back on Saturday, on a weekend where Toro Rosso celebrate their home Grand Prix.
“The car worked well in the morning, but we were not so competitive in the second session”, said the Frenchman. “On my short runs and also on the long one, I had a problem with the balance of the car, although this afternoon, that aspect was a little bit better than in the morning. Generally though, I suffered with a lack of grip, which I can’t explain at the moment.
“However, I am confident we can find ways of moving forward and enjoying a competitive weekend at our home race.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic