Panasonic Toyota Racing approaches the United States Grand Prix with confidence after Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli qualified in the top 12 at a hot Indianapolis Motor Speedway today. Track temperatures were around 54°C on a sunny day at the home of American motorsport. As usual Q1 was a frantic affair and the team watched expectedly as Ralf and Jarno joined the rest of the grid in a last-minute scrap to reach Q2. But Ralf produced a fine lap - his best of the weekend so far - to progress easily in seventh with Jarno also making it through. Second qualifying ended in similarly hectic fashion but unfortunately this time only one Toyota, that of Jarno, progressed. Ralf, after he and the team decided on a slight front wing change, narrowly missed out and he starts from the sixth row. Jarno performed strongly again in the top-10 shoot-out to claim eighth place and the team will now focus on scoring more points in the race.
Free Practice Session 3 11th Lap Time: 1m 13.057s (+0.907s) Laps: 23
Q1 12th Lap Time: 1m 13.186s (+0.770s) Laps: 7
Q2 10th Lap Time: 1m 12.828s (+0.902s) Laps: 7
Q3 8th Lap Time: 1min 13.789s (+1.458s) Laps: 12
"It is great to be here in eighth on the grid and to be honest I did not expect this. So I am very satisfied with our day and I have to say thanks to everyone in the team who have worked hard all weekend. We managed a smooth qualifying session without any problems even though the times were very tight and that made it hard. There wasn’t much grip at the start of Q1 but the track improved. The car seemed well balanced and it was quite quick so I was reasonably happy with that. But we will have to wait and see how it feels over long runs in the race tomorrow. I am happy with the result today. It gives me a good chance to score more points so I am quite optimistic for the race."
Ralf Schumacher (Car 11, Chassis
TF107/05) PROVISIONAL GRID: 12th
Free Practice Session 3 12th Lap Time: 1m 13.061s (+0.911s) Laps: 23
Q1 7th Lap Time: 1m 12.851s (+0.435s) Laps: 7
Q2 12th Lap Time: 1m 12.920s (+0.994s) Laps: 6
"The qualifying went pretty well actually. We were just a bit unlucky that we missed out on the top 10 by less than a 10th of a second. I had a little traffic on my first run in Q1 but we got a clean lap at the end of the session. Between the two sessions, we made a small change to the front wing and the car was a little bit nervous on my last flying lap in Q2. You can see we are getting closer to where we want to be because today it was possible to get into the top 10. That’s how it goes sometimes. But it is a long race tomorrow and we can now adjust our complete race strategy, which is a slight advantage. I would prefer to be starting higher up the grid but in general qualifying wasn’t so bad and I am now looking forward to tomorrow."
Pascal Vasselon – Senior General Manager Chassis
"As with probably most of the teams we have been struggling since yesterday with low grip but that is specific to Indianapolis. In the end, with the evolution of the track conditions this morning the situation came back to normal and we managed a reasonable result. As the track is a short one, we were a bit worried we might have traffic but for most of the session, both our drivers did not suffer too much. Jarno obviously did a very good job to qualify eighth and he should be in a strong position for tomorrow’s race. Ralf did a great job as well, particularly when he set the seventh fastest time in Q1. Unfortunately he lost a couple of 10ths on his last lap in Q2 when he had looked like reaching the top 10. Overall it was a good performance from him. Now we will look at our strategy and try to get the best out of the situation for both drivers."