It was a day to forget for Toro Rosso at Suzuka, as the Faenza-based squad extended their run of three races without a point after Daniel Ricciardo was forced to surrender the opportunity of a top-10 finish, having received a drive-through penalty for what was deemed an unfair pass on Adrian Sutil.
Ricciardo, who ultimately finished the race in a disappointing 13th position, was left fuming by the penalty, which he claims “ruined” his race.
“I am disappointed not to have scored some points today, because I am convinced I was heading for the top ten, which would have been an encouraging result, after struggling with the balance of the car on Saturday”, said the 24-year-old.
“We started on the Hard tyre and after I made a good start to move up two places, it was looking good as I passed Bottas on the track and moved up the order as those on the Medium pitted ahead of me.
“I was moving up the order again after my first stop and then I made a move on the outside of Sutil at the 130R and got past him. But after that, I ran wide onto the grass, which lost me a bit of time.
“Sadly, the Stewards decided I had gained an advantage by going off the track and had to take a drive-through penalty, which of course ruined my race. I was ninth when I came in for the penalty and it dropped me down outside the points.”
Jean-Eric Vergne came home just ahead of his team-mate in 12th, but the Frenchman found his race compromised by a series of poor pitstops that left him struggling in traffic throughout the Grand Prix, on a track where it is notoriously difficult to pass.
“There are some positive elements from today, because the car worked very well in this afternoon.”, he said. “However, our pit stops were not the best and cost us some time.
“After the start I found myself in traffic, so the team decided to call me in a bit early for the switch from the Option to the Prime, but the pit stop was slow and just put me back in the traffic. It was hard to overtake, so we tried lengthening the next two stints and the remaining pit stops were not the best.
“Apart from that, my pace seemed reasonable, so it’s a shame, as I think I could have done better, especially as I had a lot of new tyres for the race. I really hope I have a bit more luck and another good car in India.”
Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost echoed Ricciardo’s comments, stating that if not for the drive-through penalty, the Australian would have certainly finished in the points.
Image courtousy of Octane Photographic