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Vettel scores big on new Toro Rosso's debut 25 May 2008

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 24 May 2008 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 24 May 2008 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Race, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday, 25 May 2008 Coulthard is hit from behind by Bourdais after hitting the wall aproaching Casino Square

Toro Rosso scored their best result of 2008 on Sunday as Sebastian Vettel took the team’s new STR3 car to fifth place on its official race debut. Having failed to finish higher than 17th in this season’s previous rounds, Vettel put in a faultless performance in Monaco’s tricky conditions.

“Fifth place, four points, a new car and all at Monaco - fantastic!” said team principal Franz Tost. “It was an exciting race and Vettel did an incredible job, especially at the beginning with these exceptionally difficult circumstances when he had a new car totally under control. Later, when he changed onto the dry tyres, he was one of the fastest on track. Doing this on his first appearance in Monaco in an F1 car and with the new car is really a fantastic performance.”

Having fallen victim to several first-lap incidents in earlier races this year, Vettel was delighted to have finally got some points on the board, especially in a race that saw several big names make some serious errors.

“The race today was extremely difficult, especially at the start when with all the water on the track surface there was a lot of aquaplaning,” explained the German. “But we were very strong as the track began to dry and that’s what made the difference. It’s great to score my first points of the season at Monaco and with the new car as well.”

A one-stop strategy, featuring a mammoth first stint of 52 laps, and some excellent pit work played a vital role in Vettel’s success and the 20-year-old was quick to pay tribute to his colleagues after moving up to 12th in the driver standings.

“A big thank you to the team, who worked so hard to understand the car and improve it over the weekend,” said Vettel. “And a special thanks for the pit stop which was fantastic and gained me two places. These points are a nice present for one of our mechanics, Gaggio, who has been with the team for ever and we will have a nice party for him tonight with something to celebrate as this is his last race with the team.”

Toro Rosso always admitted that bringing a new car to a race as tough as Monaco was going to be a gamble, but it was a gamble that ultimately paid off and the team now lie eighth in the constructors’ standings as a result.

“The team did a good job with the new car, especially as it did not look so good after Thursday, but over the next two days, the car was given a completely new set-up, so congratulations to the engineers and everyone in the team for doing a fantastic job,” added Tost.

The only downside of Toro Rosso’s Monaco Sunday was Sebastien Bourdais’ retirement in the second STR3. The Frenchman lost control of his car as he lifted off to avoid the crashing David Coulthard, and ran into the rear of the Scot’s Red Bull as a result.