Da Matta reflects on Hungary

Toyota's Cristiano da Matta looks back over the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend "The Hungarian Grand Prix was disappointing for me because my mistake at the start - when I stalled - ruined the race before it had started. I pressed the launch...

Toyota's Cristiano da Matta looks back over the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend

"The Hungarian Grand Prix was disappointing for me because my mistake at the start - when I stalled - ruined the race before it had started. I pressed the launch control button slightly too soon, which meant that I had to touch the brakes to stop myself from getting a penalty for jumpstarting, and the engine just went. The marshals pushed me into the pits very quickly, but I was a lap down before I got going, so I knew immediately that there was no chance of a points' finish."

Cristiano da Matta.
Photo by Toyota Racing.
"What added to my frustration was the knowledge that the car felt really good in the race. Once some rubber had gone down on the track, the balance was good and each time I had new tyres on the car after my pitstops, it was quick. I actually set the fifth quickest lap of the race."

"The handling of the car in the race was definitely the best it had been all weekend, because it was quite difficult to drive on Friday and Saturday. In the first hour of practice on Friday I was still learning the track, so I wasn't pushing too hard, but I had really bad understeer. And there wasn't much we could do to the set-up because the track surface was really dusty, even on the racing line, and any improvements in time were coming from the track and not the car. But I think that was the same for everyone."

"My initial impressions of the Hungaroring track were not good. I thought it was too narrow for F1 cars and all the corners are second and third gear. But I have to say that my view changed a bit as the weekend went on because it is actually quite a challenging and difficult track."

"The opening two sectors of my Friday afternoon qualifying lap were okay, but I spun in the penultimate corner, which put me back in 20th place. Even now I don't know exactly what happened because the car turned into the corner okay and I only lost the rear end in the middle section of the bend, which was very unusual. Nothing showed up on the telemetry, but I still think there was something weird going on with the car."

"A couple of spins in Saturday morning practice and warm-up were not the best preparation for my qualifying run. I decided to take a more conservative approach to ensure a clean lap and I didn't push as hard as I could have done."

"I think I could have found another 0.3s from the cockpit, and I think the track improved by about the same amount during the session as more rubber went down. I think the guys qualifying in the second half of the order had one of the biggest track advantages of the season here. Anyway, if everything had come together for me I think I could have set a time about the same as my Panasonic Toyota Racing team-mate Olivier Panis, which would have been a respectable result."

"After Hungary we have another three-week break on the calendar, although we are allowed to test, so there is no chance for me to return to Brazil like I did in the break prior to the Hungarian GP. But that was wonderful! It was the first time in the three years that I had spent two uninterrupted weeks in my hometown of Belo Horizonte, so it was a great break. As it is, I am spending this week in Monaco, just training and chilling out, prior to testing at Monza next week, prior to the Italian Grand Prix on 14 September. I expect our car to be good at Monza so I'm looking forward to rediscovering our points-winning form."

-toyota-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Olivier Panis , Cristiano da Matta
Teams Toyota Racing