Panasonic Toyota Racing goes into tomorrow's Italian Grand Prix with a lot of work to do after a difficult afternoon of qualifying today. Following overnight showers around Milan the track was green but the rain held off on a warm and sunny day at the Monza track with air temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius. The afternoon qualifying session was competitive and neither Jarno Trulli nor Ralf Schumacher made it into the final shoot-out as both were eliminated after Q2. Jarno recorded the 11th fastest time while Ralf was 13th but both will at least have a free choice of strategy for tomorrow's race. Despite the difficult start to the weekend, Toyota will now push hard as it bids to score a strong result.
Jarno Trulli (Car 8, Chassis TF106/08B)
PROVISIONAL GRID: 11th
Free Practice Session 3: 14th, 15 laps completed Lap Time: 1m23.467s (+1.802s)
Q1: 6th, 6 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m22.093s (+0.382s)
Q2: 11th, 6 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m21.924s (+0.699s)
"I'm disappointed to have missed out on the top ten but we just didn't quite have the performance this afternoon. Still I'm really happy about the job I did in qualifying and I don't think I could have got anything more out of the package. This morning I seemed to be short of top speed and while we improved that for the afternoon it wasn't quite enough to make it into the top ten. Still it will be a long race tomorrow and I always enjoy racing in front of my home fans. I have always been competitive around Monza but often missed out on results. So I will push as hard as I can and hope to turn that around."
Ralf Schumacher (Car 7, Chassis TF106/10B) PROVISIONAL GRID: 13th Free Practice Session 3: 11th, 17 laps completed Lap Time: 1m23.244s (+1.579s)
Q1: 13th, 7 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m22.622s (+0.911s)
Q2: 13th, 6 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m22.280s (+1.055s)
"That was certainly a bit more difficult than we expected although we already had some problems during practice. Our car has been difficult to drive this weekend and lacking in consistency and that's why we had a disappointing result in qualifying. After the heavy rain overnight the track was very low on grip during this morning's practice session. That continued for me in qualifying and I struggled to find the right balance in both sessions. Still, we can learn a lot from what happened today and tonight we will need to check what the problems have been. We have a long race tomorrow and it's possible to overtake around here. Last year we made up a few positions in the race so let's hope we can make up ground again on Sunday."
Pascal Vasselon - Senior General Manager Chassis "It is obviously very frustrating to watch the other cars running around in Q3 without taking part ourselves. That was our second worst qualifying session of the year so we can't be happy about that. The positions were very tight and despite the fact that neither of our cars made it past Q2, Jarno was only 0.7 seconds off the quickest car. But we have clearly been less competitive than we expected, especially compared to this morning when we were in a similar position on used tyres. So we will have to look into what happened during qualifying. Ralf was struggling with stability under braking which is a key performance factor in Monza, but Jarno's balance was better so we have no clear explanation as to why we struggled. The only saving grace is that we are free to choose our strategy for tomorrow. Now we will have to analyse what will be the best approach but we will have a busy evening ahead as we prepare for the race."