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Vergne: I thought the race was lost

Sunday 31-March-2013 06:34

Jean-Eric Vergne believed his battle for a top-ten result was over when an unsafe from Toro Rosso had him crashing into Charles Pic in the Sepang pits.

Pitting on lap seven of the Malaysian GP, Vergne was released as Pic came in with the Toro Rosso driver hitting the Caterham. Vergne suffered a broken front wing in the shunt for which his team was fined $10,000.

However, it could have cost them more than that as Vergne believed at that stage that his fight for a points-finish was over.

"It was pretty crazy in pit lane at that point because there were so many cars coming in, so I can understand why it happened," said the Frenchman. "However, it cost me a lot of time - I think something like 20 or 30 seconds.

"I thought the race was lost at that point. But I was out there and had a clear track in front of me, so I just decided to push like hell to see what I could get out of the car."

Using the hard compounds in his second and third stint, Vergne pitted for the final time to swap for the mediums and raced to 10th place, securing his and Toro Rosso's first point of the campaign.

"I was on the hard compound and I felt I had a good pace, although the car had a lot of understeer, so it was difficult for me to keep the tyres alive.

"Then I came in for another set of the prime hard tyres, got a better front flap adjustment and after that the car felt fantastic. I was flying and the pace we were able to achieve was pretty amazing.

"I was able to last a long time on that set of tyres at a consistent pace, and because I was on a three-stop strategy I was able to climb up the order pretty quickly. In the final stint, on the mediums, I just overtook all the guys ahead and finished 10th."

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