Race Classification: DNF
Kamui Kobayashi (Car 10, Chassis TF109-04)
Race Classification: 10th (+1min 3.324s) Pit Stop Laps: 30, 56
Panasonic Toyota Racing concluded the Brazilian Grand Prix with neither TF109 in the points after an eventful race at Interlagos in Sao Paulo. Kamui Kobayashi, standing in for the injured Timo Glock, made a commendable Grand Prix debut to finish in the top 10 but Jarno Trulli's challenge for another podium ended with an accident on the first lap. Jarno was fighting at the front when he was pushed wide at the exit of turn five, spinning into the wall. He was forced to retire on the spot but Kamui made impressive progress, defending his position into turn one then taking advantage of the drama to move into sixth. With a heavy fuel load, he coped well under extreme pressure from the cars behind but lost a position at the beginning of lap 25, before being briefly overtaken for seventh at the end of the same lap. However, he showed his fighting qualities by immediately reclaiming the spot and ran as high as third due to a long first stint on medium compound Bridgestone Potenza tyres. His first pit stop in Formula 1 went smoothly and he resumed battle, again using medium compound tyres before a shorter final stint on super soft rubber. Despite the physically tough race on the anti-clockwise Interlagos track, he fought to the very end and earned a top-10 spot by passing the Ferrari of Giancarlo Fisichella on lap 68. With a clear track ahead, Kamui took the chequered flag on his Grand Prix debut, finishing with a flourish by setting his fastest lap on the very last lap.
"It was a tough race for me. As this was my Grand Prix debut I experienced a lot of things for the first time in Formula 1 so it was a learning experience. Physically it felt like a really long race and it was quite tough. My first target was to finish the race and I am pleased to achieve that, but after the start I was in a decent position to score points so I am a little disappointed I didn't. The car felt good in the first stint but when I changed tyres the balance felt a different and I was struggling a bit; probably this was just down to experience. It was my first race so there are several areas to improve but overall I am happy with how I have performed this weekend and I would like to thank the team for all its support."
"I am extremely frustrated by what happened today because I had a very good chance to challenge for the podium. On the first lap (Adrian) Sutil was very slow through turn four because he was fighting with (Kimi) Raikkonen. He was on the inside so I took the outside line but he kept pushing me wider and wider. In the end I was on the grass and had no control of the car so I crashed into the wall at high speed. I think there was enough space for both of us to get around the corner."
Tadashi Yamashina - Team Principal
"It is disappointing not to score points here because we had high expectations. Jarno was unlucky on the first lap and I feel really sorry for him because he had the chance to get another very strong result. So Kamui was the only Toyota in the race but he did a really good job, especially on a track he has never raced on before and after the difficult conditions earlier in the weekend. As we have come to expect from him, he battled really hard and also put on an exciting show for the fans. It was particularly impressive to see him overtaking another car at the end of a hard race and I am proud of his efforts."
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