Personally the car has alot to do with it. It is hard to handle with a nature of understeer entry and the mid corner and snap oversteer on exit. Riccardo is good, just not setting the world alight just yet, Vergne is slightly better however the lack of experience is showing with him now.
My summary of Riccardo has the expeience with the RB5, RB6, STR6, F111 and now this car, he knows what a good car and a bad car feel like and i feel he is able adapt better to a poor car. On the other side Vergne seems that he is always complaining about the car, he cant get comfy with it as quick, his experience with the STR5, STR6 and RB7 give him a slightly less of a data bank over Riccardo who has raced for half a season in a poor HRT F111, whitch gives him an advantage. Riccardo seems to qualify better but falls away in races, Vergne seems to be poor at Quali but picks up in races.
Daniel Ricciardo = 1.516% off P1 in Quali - Average Finishing posistion: 13.86
Jean-Eric Vergne = 2.596% off P1 in Quali - Average Finishing posistion: 12.57
If i take a look at Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastian Buemi, id have kept one of them for half a season this year, id probably have taken Alguersuari, however he seems to be very simmilar to Vergne going from what i heard of him from the pit to car radio last year. However Alguersuari seems to have more of a Riccardo about him, he seems to be able to adapt to a problem better than a Vergne.
Buemi i would have taken as the Red Bull TD/RD and the guy for the simulator for Red Bull, and get him the LMP experience as well, as an experience of a LMP car will make him a better driver. He basically needs a Grosjean shok to go onto better things.
Last years stats:
Sebastian Buemi 3.925% off P1 in Quali - Average Finishing posistion: 14.105
Jaime Alguersuari 3.458% off P1 in Quali - Average Finishing posistion: 13.526
Narain Karthikeyan 8.443% off P1 in Quali - Average Finishing posistion: 20.778
Daniel Ricciardo 8.900% off P1 in Quali - Average Finishing posistion: 19.273
Vitantonio Liuzzi 8.615% off P1 in Quali - Average Finishing posistion: 20.444
2010 years stats:
Sebastian Buemi 2.531% off P1 in Quali - Average Finishing posistion: 14.526
Jaime Alguersuari 2.570% off P1 in Quali - Average Finishing posistion: 12.895
I feel that Red Bull should have continued a partnership with HRT and given Vergne 10 events with this years F112 in order to get him experience with a poor car and also get him into what a learning in F1 away from the spotlight, kept Alguersuari and then put Riccardo in the #2 seat. Then told Alguersuari and Riccardo that they have 10 events to impress before Vergne steps in and the other driver goes to HRT for the rest of the year. It seems that fear always drives a driver forward and fear always makes them drive results out of the car that would otherwise not be posible.
Im not entirly convinced by both Riccardo or Vergne at present, i think that Red Bull/Toro Rosso made a mistake in getting rid of Alguersuari, as they lost a baseline from one car to another, whitch it seems that all other teams retained from 2011 to 2012. And this is what i feel has hurt them, the loss of one driver to be able to compair to the last car and drive it forward.
I do think that Alguersuari will be back in F1 next year at one of two teams as his experience of the Pirelli R30 test car and the Pirelli 2013 rubber will make his an asset. But that depends on what 2 or 3 top teams do with their drivers. It would be wrong for Toro Rosso to boot Riccardo and Vergne next year, i think they need one more year, in order for Red Bull to decide who will replace Webber, unless Webber goes to Ferrari next year, whitch Riccardo or Vergne will need to be able to step up quickly, and Toro Rosso need to then decide on wether to put Buemi back in a STR seat or bring back Alguersuari or replace them with another hot shoe.