Panasonic Toyota Racing came away from the United States Grand Prix with three points after a fine performance by Jarno Trulli and the team delivered his best result of the season with sixth place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. On another...
Panasonic Toyota Racing came away from the United States Grand Prix with three points after a fine performance by Jarno Trulli and the team delivered his best result of the season with sixth place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. On another sunny day, with track temperatures at 50°C and air temperature at 35°C, Jarno made a strong start and moved up to seventh in the scramble for the first turn.
Unfortunately, Ralf Schumacher's race ended at the first corner when he was involved in a collision with David Coulthard. Ralf's car suffered damage to the front left suspension and he was unable to rejoin. Jarno was able to pull away from the chasing pack at a steady rate during his first stint and he made his first pit stop on lap 31.
His next stop came on lap 56 and he battled hard to pass Mark Webber before defending his position until the chequered flag to take three points, making it seven for the season for him and nine for Toyota. The team will now focus on scoring another positive result in the French Grand Prix, with preparations beginning on Tuesday with the start of a three-day test at Silverstone.
"It is incredible - I can't believe I have finished in the points today. Despite all the effort we put in I thought it would be hard to get in the points but the team has done an incredible job. We haven't got anything wrong and we got sixth which for us is like a victory today. It is an unexpected result to be honest because before the race I never expected such a good performance from me or from the car so I am really pleased."
"Mentally it was a very hard race because I was on the limit for the whole race. I was fighting with Webber and I did not think I would come out ahead but in the end I managed it. It took a lot of fight. I really enjoyed it but after a very good manoeuvre when I overtook him following the second pit stop I thought I was going to lose the position."
"When I finished the race I asked more than once 'are you sure I finished sixth?' because I couldn't believe it! In the last four races we have had a few problems but this shows when we get it right we can battle for points."
"That was a disappointing way to end my race after a pretty good qualifying. Obviously going into the first corner it was very crowded and everyone is on cold tyres. Going into the first corner I braked quite calmly but my tyres locked a bit. David came around from the outside and we crashed into each other. I think it was a racing incident."
"It is disappointing but these things can happen easily in that kind of situation at the start of a race when everyone is trying to gain positions. It is unfortunate and a bit unlucky for us because we could have had a good race. I will be testing at Silverstone on Tuesday so now I fly directly to England to prepare for the French Grand Prix, where I hope for a better result."
Tadashi Yamashina - Vice Chairman:
"To finish in sixth place in the last race of Tsutomu Tomita's era as Chairman and Team Principal before he leaves at the end of June is fantastic. I am ecstatic. Jarno drove a fantastic race but the result is also due to a great job from the all the team. What happened to Ralf can't be helped but we expect he will have a better result in the next race. It was just a normal incident at the start of a race. It was a weekend which was quite difficult at the start because of the low grip we experienced but this is a good result."
"It was quite an interesting race. Jarno did a very good job in the race because he was fighting at the end with Mark Webber, who was a little bit faster on top speed but a bit slower in the infield. Our strategy in Q3 yesterday paid off for Jarno because we went quite long on the first stint and that helped him to stay in front of Webber. We had absolutely no technical problems on the car all through the weekend and that is of course good news. Now we will aim to build on this result at the next race in France."
Race Classification: 6th
Tyre Strategy: Soft Soft Medium
Qualifying Classification: 8th
Time: 1min 13.789s (+1.458s in Q3)
Race Classification: DNF
Tyre Strategy: Soft
Qualifying Classification: 12th
Time: 1m 12.920s (+0.994 in Q2)