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British GP: Toyota race notes

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Cristiano da Matta and Olivier Panis finished an action-packed British Grand Prix in 7th and 11th places respectively, scoring another two championship points for Panasonic Toyota Racing at Silverstone today. The duo led the race in the early...

Cristiano da Matta and Olivier Panis finished an action-packed British Grand Prix in 7th and 11th places respectively, scoring another two championship points for Panasonic Toyota Racing at Silverstone today. The duo led the race in the early stages after a bizarre sequence of events led to the deployment of the safety car twice. Da Matta held off the McLaren-Mercedes of Kimi Raikkonen to retain the lead for some 18 laps before his second schedule pit stop dropped him down the field, although still in a points scoring position.

Cristiano da Matta

"I thoroughly enjoyed that race and I was quite happy with the way things went for us. Seventh place is a nice reward for our performance this weekend. We had a good strategy and good pit stops, using the first safety car period to come in for fuel, which put me in the lead at that time and Olivier second. I'm very used to leading races, but this was the first time in F1, which is a special feeling. I knew it wouldn't last long, so I enjoyed it while I could and pushed hard to build up as much time advantage as possible. We have been gradually improving over the past few races and we are setting ourselves up to be in a strong position for the rest of this season, but more importantly for 2004."

Olivier Panis:

"We opted for a three-stop strategy today and I think we achieved the best we could. When the safety car was sent out for the first time, the team reacted well to call both cars in for fuel, resulting in Cristiano and myself being in first and second positions for a while, which was fantastic for the team to see. We are improving the car race-by-race, and we proved this weekend that we can be competitive throughout qualifying and the race. Overall, it has been an extremely positive weekend for the team."

Ove Andersson - Team Principal:

"It is a fantastic to finish seventh and to get another two points, taking our tally to seven. This result is important for our progression in the championship and encouragingly reflects where we are in terms of our competitiveness at the moment. We actually led the race for some 18 laps - almost one-third race distance - and it was incredible to see Toyota in first and second for a while early in the grand prix. Cristiano did a brilliant job throughout the race, as did Olivier, who kept third place for as long as Cristiano was leading. The team performed magnificently and made sure our pit stops were once again first class, which contributed as much to these two points as anything else."

Cristiano da Matta
Car Number 21, Chassis TF103/04
Classification: 7th +45s (from race winner)
Starting Position: 6th

Olivier Panis
Car Number 20, Chassis TF103/08
Classification: 11th +65.2s (from race winner)
Starting Position: 13th

-toyota-

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