Vergne not happy to just beat Ricciardo

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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.

MRTI: pre-season testing Day 3 notebook

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Day 3 of pre-season testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway saw the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda continue testing for the second day in a row, with each series completing three sessions on what was their final day of running.

Quick reports on both series are below.

Pro Mazda: Cunha Surges to the Front

While Saturday saw Pro Mazda newcomers like Oliver Askew, Parker Thompson, and Rinus VeeKey lead the way, Sunday saw a pair of second-year Pro Mazda drivers take their turns at the top of the speed charts. In the combined results, Juncos Racing’s Carlos Cunha turned the fastest lap of the final session, also good enough to be the outright fastest lap of the weekend, taking advantage of a fresh set of Cooper Tires to do so.

“I’m really happy, Juncos Racing is an amazing team,” Cunha said of the team’s performance. “On track, we are always improving, never going backwards and that’s very good. We have tested a lot but we still need to learn a lot about the car, though we are almost to a perfect setup. The team has given me everything I need to be comfortable inside the car, to know what the car needs, and to know what I need to be a better driver. We have time to improve and we are moving forward quickly.”

Fellow sophomore driver Sting Ray Robb, now with Team Pelfrey, was right behind Cunha in second.

Combined results across both Saturday and Sunday can be found here.

USF2000: Kirkwood, Cape Motorsports Stay On Top of Deep USF2000 Field

New Cape Motorsports driver Kyle Kirkwood, who topped Session 2 on Saturday, stayed on top of the combined speed charts across the weekend on the strength of his best lap from Session 3 of the weekend on Saturday.

Pabst Racing’s Rasmus Lindh was right behind Kirkwood, on the strength of his quick lap from Session 1.

However, Sunday’s running saw a different driver assert his authority, with Kaylen Frederick, Lindh’s teammate at Pabst, turning the fastest lap during the final session.

Frederick ended up fourth in the combined results, which can be viewed here.

The Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires will take to the Homestead-Miami road course on Monday for the final day of testing for the Mazda Road to Indy.

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