Making the best of what they’ve got
Toro Rosso have had a good rst half of the season. It looked doubly difficult for them for a while (Red Bull B-team, Renault dramas), but they’ve done well under torrid circumstances. As with Force India, this is in part due to their two very fast drivers (Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat) and the talent of a very able technical director, James Key, who has produced a rational car for the new technical era.
It’s been an interesting season for Vergne so far. Although heavily outqualified last year by Daniel Ricciardo (4-15), Vergne, on several occasions, looked very good relative to Daniel on Sunday afternoons. He may have missed out on the Red Bull drive, but he is now an experienced team leader: Toro Rosso is his to evolve.
Against the talented and quick Kvyat, Vergne has done well. He’s just ahead in qualifying, and his driving is more consistent and aggressive. It was hidden from view, but I was impressed with his drive to P8 in Canada, particularly since he had Fernando in his mirrors for much of the distance. His drive from the back of the grid at Silverstone was similarly slick.
As for Kvyat, Stowe at Silverstone for me said it all. Felipe lost it again on Friday morning, applying the power too soon, too aggressively – then Daniil did the same. Except that he feathered the throttle slightly, caught the moment, re-caught it… and continued. Absolutely stunning car control. And a refreshingly straightforward approach, too.