Panasonic Toyota Racing will line up with two drivers in the first four rows of the grid for tomorrow's Hungarian Grand Prix after today's hour of qualifying at the Hungaroring. The uncharacteristic low temperatures of yesterday's practice sessions continued into Saturday, with an overcast sky and cool conditions throughout the day. That has led all teams to suffer problems with low grip due to tyre graining. Nevertheless Toyota's drivers Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli both had good afternoons of work, successfully making it through Q1 and Q2. In the final shoot-out Ralf recorded the 7th fastest time while Jarno took 9th. They will rise to 6th and 8th on the grid due to an engine penalty ahead of them. Toyota will now work hard to build on this performance and come away with a strong result in tomorrow's race.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 7, Chassis TF106/10B) PROVISIONAL GRID: 6th Free Practice Session 3: 15th, 13 laps completed Lap Time: 1m23.963s (+3.168s)
Q1: 5th, 6 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m21.112s (+1.370s)
Q2: 9th, 6 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m20.243s (+0.739s)
Q3: 7th, 11 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m20.759s (+1.160s)
"Considering the difficult circumstances we can be pretty pleased with what we achieved today. Everyone expected hotter conditions for this race weekend and we have all had our problems with it. The main problem with this cool weather is graining. When the tyres are working under their normal temperature range a rough surface develops which prevents the tyres from having sufficient grip. The tyre basically "dissolves" and you have a big grip problem. As a result you have either understeer or oversteer. But the team did a great job and it looks like we've chosen the right tyre so it's promising for tomorrow. I have a good finishing record here and our recent performances have shown that we are on the up so I hope we can continue that trend in the race."
Jarno Trulli (Car 8, Chassis TF106/08B)
PROVISIONAL GRID: 8th
Free Practice Session 3: 19th, 16 laps completed Lap Time: 1m25.373s (+4.578s)
Q1: 11th, 6 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m21.434s (+1.692s)
Q2: 8th, 6 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m20.231s (+0.727s)
Q3: 9th, 11 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m21.123s (+1.533s)
"This weekend has been difficult for everyone because of the problems with tyre graining. Because it is so hard to understand how best to use the tyres it has made it difficult to set up the car so everything was a bit of a guess for me today. Throughout the session I was missing out on general grip and struggling with the balance. Still, we have done well to make it into the top ten and now we have to look to get the most out of tomorrow's race. In the past I've always done well here in Hungary but missed out on results. Tomorrow will be another hard race but at recent races we've been moving up the grid in terms of our performance so we will try to bring home a good result."
Pascal Vasselon – Senior General Manager Chassis "Tyres are always an important factor but this time in Budapest they are just overriding everything else. The cooler conditions have a complex effect, bringing the compound into a window where they tend to grain. The low temperature also induces warming-up issues, making the tyres slide and leading to huge graining, which is what we've seen in the last two days. So in absolute terms we lack grip, but it is the same for everyone and in relative terms we are not doing badly. Qualifying went well with no major issues. So far it seems we've tried to take a different approach from the other teams and we are very pleased with the outcome of this qualifying. We are in a good position and we are really looking forward to tomorrow afternoon."