Jean-Eric Vergne has admitted his F1 debut would be easier if he was sharing the Toro Rosso garage with an experienced driver. Instead, the French rookie made his grand prix debut in Australia alongside Daniel Ricciardo, the young Australian with only a handful of races for struggling HRT under his belt.
The Toro Rosso duel this year is one of F1’s most interesting, given owner Red Bull’s clean sweep of its 2011 lineup, and the expectation that either Vergne, 22, or Ricciardo could succeed Mark Webber at the senior team.
“Of course it would have been easier to come in with a teammate who has more experience, because you always learn from your teammate,” Vergne is quoted by Le Presse Canadienne. “But we (Vergne and Ricciardo) have a very good relationship,” he insisted.
“We’ve known each other for a long time, we came through together in the development programme, we drove together in Formula Renault for a year. So we’ve had good laughs, a great time and have even taken vacations together.
“He’s a good guy and a great driver,” said Vergne. “I think we’re both progressing well.”
Vergne said he is settling into the F1 rhythm, but still has to check himself when he is out on track.
“I tell myself that all the other drivers are just drivers as I am. I try to forget that these are guys that I have watched since I was 10. But there’s no aliens. I tell myself that I have a steering wheel now just as they do, and I just need to go as fast as I possibly can,” he said.