Panasonic Toyota Racing will leave Budapest with three points courtesy of Ralf Schumacher following today's incident-packed Hungarian Grand Prix. After the cool conditions of the first two days, the Hungarian weather had one more surprise for the...
Panasonic Toyota Racing will leave Budapest with three points courtesy of Ralf Schumacher following today's incident-packed Hungarian Grand Prix. After the cool conditions of the first two days, the Hungarian weather had one more surprise for the teams on Sunday, with heavy showers ensuring that much of the race took place on a wet track.
Toyota's drivers Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli started from P6 and P8 on the grid respectively with a heavy fuel load for a two-stop race. But both drivers were short of grip at the start and they lost a total of six places each on the first lap. From there it was always going to be a long, hard afternoon's work around the Hungaroring.
The task was made even harder when the safety car was brought out just after both had made their first pit stops on lap 25, leaving both a lap down. The two drivers were the first to switch to dry tyres for the final stint and Ralf did well to bring the car home in 6th place. Jarno was less fortunate, suffering an engine failure five laps from home. There is no testing in August so the teams will now take a mini-break before the next race at Turkey's Istanbul Park in three weeks.
"That was a very turbulent race and after everything that happened we are happy to take away three points. A lot of things went badly, but the rain was especially difficult at the start of the race. The track was really wet and we just could not warm up the tyres. It was like running on smooth ice and we were extremely slow so it was pretty hard work."
"As the track got drier we improved our pace and the Bridgestone standard wets worked extremely well even in dry conditions. At the moment when we decided to change to dry tyres it might have been quite risky. But it was a risk we had to take and it worked. On dry tyres we were quick and I was able to make up ground and take 6th place."
"This has simply been a chaotic weekend from start to finish. During the first lap I was hit by a car on the infield and I lost several positions. Then during the first stint we had a major struggle for grip which got worse as the rain increased. Then when I could have done with some luck from the safety car I pitted a lap too soon and I was stuck behind it a lap down. I had been starting to make up ground but I was then stuck behind a lot of cars that were slower than me. That lost me a few seconds a lap and with the strategy I had it ruined my race."
"As the track got drier and the temperatures went up, the car became quicker and we were doing pretty well in the last stint on dry tyres until we suffered our engine failure. We should have finished in the points but in the end everything that could have gone wrong did. We will hope for a more predictable weekend in Turkey and a better result."
Tsutomu Tomita - Team Principal:
"First of all we would like to congratulate Honda on their first win since their return to Formula 1. Here at Toyota our weekend started well and we expected a good performance in the race so I am very dissatisfied with this result. In the end it was full of action and incident and events did not play into our hands today."
"We had taken the risk of rain into account when we decided on our set-up yesterday so we were not too worried. But we made a poor start and we had poor grip in the wet conditions of the early stages when our lap times were worse than those of our tyre competitors. Then the safety car came at the worst possible time for us and we lost a lap compared to cars which we could have passed later in the race."
"So that lost us the chance to score more points. As the race went on and as it became drier over the last two stints our pace was very good. Ralf did well to finish in 6th place but Jarno was less fortunate and suffered a late engine failure. We are confident we will improve and we will continue pushing to the end of the season."
Car 7, Chassis TF106/10B
Race Classification: 6th
Gap: +1 lap (from race winner)
Qualifying Classification: 7th
Time: 1m20.759s (+1.160s in Q3)
Car 8, Chassis TF106/08B
Race Classification: DNF
Qualifying Classification: 9th
Time: 1m21.123s (+1.533s in Q3)