MONZA, September 8th, 2013 (F1Plus / Rosie Baillie) - A strong qualifying session on Saturday saw Daniel Ricciardo start his Toro Rosso team's home race from seventh place and the car's pace allowed him to hold on to that position.
The Australian, who has recently been confirmed as Sebastian Vettel’s 2014 teammate at Red Bull, was pleased he’d been able to retain his starting position and felt the low downforce package had really worked well at Monza.
“In recent races where we have managed to qualify in the top ten, we didn’t have the pace to stay there in the race, but today we did,” Ricciardo said.
“I think I got the most out of the car, managing to keep the guys behind me and the low downforce set-up certainly helped us down the straights.”
He urged the team on to continue the car's development, feeling a top five finish is within reach before the end of the season.
“We must keep pushing hard on the car development for the next few races because, hopefully, a top five finish is not too far away.”
Teammate Jean-Eric Vergne unfortunately did not have a similar race after a transmission problem ended his race prematurely.
“I felt something was wrong and had to stop at the side of the track. I said on the radio I thought the engine had gone, but actually it was still running and it seems I had some sort of transmission problem.” Vergne explained.
The Frenchman was inside the top 10 when his race was ended and felt it would have been possible to score more points had he been able to complete the race.
“A real shame, especially as I knew my final stint on the Hard tyre would be even stronger. I would definitely have finished quite high up in the points as the guys ahead were not pulling away from me.”
This marks Vergne’s fifth retirement of the year, yet he is still hoping his luck will change soon.
“I seem to be suffering a lot of bad luck this season, but I keep believing the turning point will come soon.”
In 2008 Toro Rosso achieved their first and only race win here in Monza after Red Bull Racing driver Vettel took pole and went on to win the race. Five years later Vettel took his third win at the Italian Grand Prix, much to the dismay of the Tifosi who booed him on the podium.