While Daniel Ricciardo has emphasized his determination to beat teammate Jean-Eric Vergne, the Frenchman has downplayed the intra-team battle at Toro Rosso, stating that he is focused upon the interests of the team. However, with an attractive seat at Red Bull up for grabs, is JEV taking the right approach?
The Frenchman has had a positive start to the season, claiming Toro Rosso’s first point in Sepang. The 10th place was a fantastic achievement considering the sizable time lost in the pit lane following the clumsy collision with Charles Pic’s Caterham. Typically, when a driver is victim to an accident outside of his control, he will lose his composure, however, JEV displayed his maturity to recover with an excellent drive
While Vergne has dismissed the intra-team duel as insignificant, he will no doubt take heart in the fact that he has beaten Ricciardo to the team’s first point of the year. However, Vergne is acting particularly diplomatic when talking to the press, as he is well aware that Red Bull will examine every statement clinically, as they consider who will be a suitable replacement for Webber.
When questioned about his rivalry with Ricciardo, Vergne announced, “People want to make out that there is a big fight. I don’t care. I’m here to do my job and get the best result for the team. If I can be the driver that picks up the best result then I definitely want to be this driver and I will do everything for this. If we have the worst car though and always finish 17th or 18th every weekend I will not be happy at all. 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 intra-team fight isn’t enough for me, I want better performances.”
Vergne and Ricciardo were both under pressure heading into the new season after an underwhelming 2012. The drivers face the tricky task of being Toro Rosso employees while constantly trying to please Red Bull. While it is difficult to balance both responsibilities, Vergne has done an excellent job so far. His recent statement will certainly catch the attention of Horner and company, as Vergne has highlighted a willingness to perform with the team’s interests ahead of his own.