Panasonic Toyota Racing is celebrating its best performance of 2007 after today’s qualifying session for the British Grand Prix. Ralf Schumacher posted the 6th quickest lap, his best result of the season, with Jarno Trulli 10th. That means the team will line up with two cars in the top ten of the grid for the first time since April in Malaysia. Toyota had a successful day of practice to kick off the weekend yesterday and that form continued into qualifying. After the poor weather that has been a feature of the week, the sun finally broke through the clouds at Silverstone today with air temperatures around 20° Celsius. Both drivers made it into Q3 without problems and Ralf made the top six in every session. Now the team will bid to make the most of these positions as it pushes for a strong result in tomorrow’s race.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 11, Chassis TF107/05) PROVISIONAL GRID: 6th
Free Practice Session 3 6th Lap Time: 1m 20.770s (+1.019s) Laps: 21
Q1 6th Lap Time: 1m 20.513s (+1.183s) Laps: 6
Q2 5th Lap Time: 1m 19.860s (+0.981s) Laps: 6
Q3 6th Lap Time: 1m 20.516s (+0.519s) Laps: 11
"This is my best qualifying result of the year so I am happy with what we have achieved. Both the test a fortnight ago and yesterday’s practice session went well. The car seems to suit me better here this weekend and I can just do what I want with it so I am happy. We were relatively quick in the race in Magny-Cours so I naturally hope that can continue tomorrow. First we must concentrate on making a good start. I’m on the dirty side of the grid which is not perfect but we will take it from there. It’s been a difficult season but the whole team has kept working very hard – both at the race tracks and at the factory. We know what we want to achieve and we are pushing so I’m sure we can turn the corner. To have both cars in the top ten means that we have a chance to score points whic h we really need."
Free Practice Session 3 17th Lap Time: 1m 21.321s (+1.570s) Laps: 18
Q1 13th Lap Time: 1m 21.150s (+1.820s) Laps: 7
Q2 9th Lap Time: 1m 20.133s (+0.981s) Laps: 6
Q3 10th Lap Time: 1m 21.240s (+1.243s) Laps: 11
"To make it into the top ten was a good qualifying result for me considering how things have gone all weekend. I have been struggling with the set-up and I have really found it hard to get hold of the car. We tried to improve the set-up this morning but we didn’t succeed. It seems that whatever I tried to do I would be slow. So this was about as much as I could manage today. We are still in a good position for the race so we will see what we can do to improve things for tomorrow. Now I just hope to make the finish and see if we can score some more points. The British fans are passionate about F1 and there are a lot of people here giving support to all the drivers so I’m sure there w ill be a good atmosphere."
Pascal Vasselon – Senior General Manager Chassis
"This has been a good weekend for us, in line with the test we did here a couple of weeks ago where we saw we were higher up the pecking order. So far everything has gone smoothly, we have had no reliability issues and we have been able to improve our set-up session after session. Ralf has done an especially good job throughout the weekend and his position in Q3 is a deserved reward. Jarno also did well to make Q3 but he has been slightly less comfortable with the set-up, particularly for qualifying trim. But we are confident in our strategies and both drivers should be in good shape for the race. Both tyre specifications are able to do the job here so, while the option had a clear advantage as usual in qualifying, there is no particular strategy required to manage the difference between them tomorrow. There is nothing particular about this circuit that has made us perform well but since Barcelona we’ve seen that in this downforce window our car is better than it is at medium to low downforce tracks like Indianapolis and Montreal. Even in Magny-Cours where our race was destroyed by incidents, our pace was where we expected it to be. Now we can look forward to a good race tomorrow."