Tost backs Vergne to get a “big result” soon

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Scuderia Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost has given his support to Jean-Eric Vergne as the Frenchman fights for his place in Formula 1.

Vergne joined the Red Bull junior team back in 2012, but missed out on a promotion to the senior outfit when teammate Daniel Ricciardo got the nod. In 2014, he has struggled to make much of an impact, and is now coming under pressure from Formula Renault 3.5 driver Carlos Sainz Jr. for the seat at Faenza.

Speaking to Autosport, Tost admitted that Vergne did need a big result to answer his critics, but praised the Frenchman for coming a long way since last season.

“He made a lot of progress during the winter months so he is much more stable this year,” he said. “He is doing a good job.

“Unfortunately he has had a lot of reliability issues with his car, but from the driving point of view he is fast, skilled, and I just hope he gets a really good result.”

Vergne has not finished any higher than eighth on track so far this season, but has shown signs of pace. In Monaco, he was running as high as sixth, and even sat second in Hungary before dropping back down the order.

“Monaco would have been the kick to give him self-confidence to score a lot of points, and then everything becomes much easier,” Tost said. “You need the results because this is the confirmation.”

Vergne’s future at Toro Rosso will be just one part of the silly season spectacular that Formula 1 is set to throw up in 2014, and so long as Sainz continues to dominate his championship, the Spaniard will be the favorite to race alongside Daniil Kvyat next season.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.