Sébastien Buemi has rejected suggestions that it is now his seat at Toro Rosso that’s under threat to the team’s reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo.
Prior to last weekend’s European Grand Prix, much of the speculation had suggested that it was the Swiss driver’s team-mate Jaime Alguersuari who was first in line to be dropped after struggling to come to terms with Buemi’s pace in the the opening races of the season.
And come qualifying for the Valencia race, Alguersuari certainly didn’t help his cause with a third successive failure to break out of the first phase of qualifying.
But the 21-year-old Spaniard drove an inspired race at Valencia on Sunday, earning another eighth-placed finish after his identical result at Canada, drawing himself level with Buemi in the Drivers’ Championship standings on eight points.
The screws have now been turned on Buemi – most notably, and least helpfully, by the Swiss media – with the Blick newspaper reporting that Buemi has been covering extra miles in Red Bull’s simulator to stay ahead of his team-mate.
“I am working harder and at some point it will pay off,” he is quoted as saying.
Buemi was also at pains to suggest that there is more to his team-mate simply having outperformed him at the last two races.
“I was clearly faster than Alguersuari in both qualifying [sessions],” he said. “And in Valencia he had another set of tyres because he missed the first hurdle in qualifying!
“Of course I have to live with it, and what counts in the end is the speed, and I have that,” he concluded.
When you’re in team like Toro Rosso, one might argue that they’re more concerned with points’ finishes…
[Image via The Cahier Archive]