Sebastien Bourdais narrowly missed out on a podium in Spa-Francorchamps after losing several places in the dramatic final few laps.
The Toro Rosso ace had driven sublimely all weekend and he vaulted up to fifth place from ninth with a lightening start. He managed to fend of Mark Webber and Robert Kubica throughout most of the race, and when Kimi Raikkonen crashed out of the race, the Frenchman found himself poised for a first career podium.
The stakes being so high, Bourdais had no choice but to stay on the dry tyres, and he eventually lost out to the wet-tyre gamblers of Fernando Alonso and Nick Heidfeld as he battled to keep his car on the road. He eventually placed seventh with team-mate Sebastian Vettel also getting past on the final lap.
“On the last lap it was a lottery with the car getting away from you with every turn of the wheel,” exuberated Bourdais afterwards. “It’s a horrible situation, as everything had been under control up until then.”
“But I am not in a situation where I can risk everything and at the end of the race I didn’t even know where I finished. It was so close to being a great result I felt I could almost touch it and so it was a very frustrating way to finish what was a great weekend up to that point.”
Sebastian Vettel who started tenth dropped a couple of places at the start and was delighted to have carved his way into fifth place as a result of the chaos.
“Both me and Seb have good reason to smile after a race like that,” he enthused. “The last lap was unbelievable and I was shocked as I got passed in the last fifty metres and then Heidfeld followed by Alonso drove past me with a “whoosh” on their intermediates.”
“It was very tricky at the end and you really had to trust your car. We were all saying that Eau Rouge and Blanchimont are now flat, but with a few drops of rain, I tell you, you see the real nature of these corners.”
“Overall it was a fantastic race, even though I was stuck in traffic for a while. But I was very happy with the car and we had a very strong pace today. The guys at the front are still in a different dimension, but we have made some good steps forward and now it is up to us to use that potential at the next few races.”
The result marks the second straight race where Toro Rosso have finished in the points, and with both cars reaching the top ten in qualifying on Saturday, the team had every reason to smile ahead of Monza.
“I am really very happy with this result and now we head for our home race in Monza, hoping to carry the momentum with us,” said Team Principal Franz Tost. “It’s also the home race for our engine supplier and I expect the Prancing Horse to be on very good form next weekend.”
“A very good start and a very good race from Bourdais until he was unlucky on the last lap, as the rain came a bit too early for him. But that’s the game at Spa. It was definitely his best race for Toro Rosso and I am very happy for him.”
“Vettel struggled a bit at the start, but then he too drove a fantastic race, passing Glock and Piquet with some good moves. At the end, he also passed his teammate. In the closing stages we thought about bringing them in for intermediates but by then it was too late to make that call.”
“But in the dry, in straightforward conditions, it was undoubtedly our best performance. We have moved ahead of Honda and are now on equal points with Williams and I hope we can score more points in the remaining five races. Fantastic!”