With just one point from the opening two rounds of the 2013 Formula 1 season, Scuderia Toro Rosso hasn’t yet jumped to the head of the midfield.
It’s that motivation, rather than simply beating teammate Daniel Ricciardo, that is fueling STR sophomore Jean-Eric Vergne.
“The [intra-team] fight isn’t enough for me; I want better performances,” Vergne told Autosport. “[In Australia] I was in front of Daniel after qualifying, but I was really pissed off and sad that I didn’t make it through into Q3.”
The Frenchman scored more points than Ricciardo a year ago but was woefully outperformed in qualifying, 16-4 in 20 races. The talk since the two were paired from the start of 2012 has been of the intra-team battle to see who could be worthy of a seat at Red Bull if Mark Webber departs.
In the wake of the Malaysian Grand Prix Red Bull team orders controversy, the added pressure to qualify higher up the grid has intensified down for Red Bull’s junior squad.
“If we have the worst car though and always finish 17th or 18th every weekend I will not be happy at all,” added Vergne.
MotorSportsTalk continues its review of the Verizon IndyCar Series field, driver-by-driver, with a look at Ryan Briscoe. Despite not having a ride to start the year, Briscoe ended strongly courtesy of a series of strong runs at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Ryan Briscoe, No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
- 2014: 11th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 4th, 1 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 12.8 Avg. Start, 10.6 Avg. Finish
- 2015: 18th Place (8 starts), Best Finish 5th, Best Start 2nd, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 10 Laps Led, 17.8 Avg. Start, 12.0 Avg. Finish
For those who slag on Briscoe as being undeserving of top level equipment, his 2015 second half provided a friendly reminder of his overall ability level in what might be less than the best machinery.
Briscoe was thrust into the No. 5 car under trying circumstances to begin with, getting all of an hour’s worth practice replacing the injured James Hinchcliffe ahead of the Indianapolis 500. But subsequent drives on the ovals there, Texas, Fontana, Milwaukee and Iowa – even if the results were less than ideal – showcased a driver determined to show to the paddock he still had it, and then some. His defense against Juan Pablo Montoya in Sonoma was nothing short of brilliant, and courtesy of double points he actually finished ahead of full-season driver Stefano Coletti.
The Australian immediately gelled with the SPM team, engineer Allen McDonald and race strategist Robert Gue. He continues to prove he’s an asset, as he has enjoyed multiple opportunities to extend his career in various arenas of motorsport in both open-wheel and sports cars, the latter of which he won at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Corvette Racing this year.
Following an early retirement for Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton has closed even more on his third Formula 1 World Championship.
View it above in the race recap from the 2015 Russian Grand Prix.