Panasonic Toyota Racing's Ralf Schumacher was delighted after he went from the back of the field to take 6th place at an incident-strewn Monaco Grand Prix. Ralf passed a number of cars before taking advantage of a hectic day to take three points. Team-mate Jarno Trulli had an even more eventful afternoon, running as high as 2nd for a long period before dropping back after an audacious passing manoeuvre at the Loews hairpin. He eventually finished 10th. Ralf's points keep Toyota in the top three of the constructors' championship on 43 points.
PASS AT THE PORT
Ralf Schumacher had the most difficult job of all today after starting from the back. But he made up four places in the early laps before moving further up during the safety car period. He ended up fending off the two Ferraris on his way to three points for 6th place.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 17, Chassis TF105/03) Race Classification: 6th
Gap: +37.177s (from race winner)
Aggregate Qualifying Classification: 18th Agg. Time: No time
"First of all thanks to the whole Panasonic Toyota Racing team for putting the car together after my accident yesterday. It was a great effort and the car went through the whole race so I'm really happy about that. It's a pity about what happened on Saturday because I could have ended up with even more points, but I had a very good day today. In the early laps I passed a few slower cars into Mirabeau, then I was held up in traffic. After the safety car period I began moving through the field. Then at the end I was in a long chain of cars behind Alonso who was going slowly. With the Ferraris behind me it was a bit difficult. Then Michael made rather a strong move on the line and we nearly crashed. Still, it's great to end up with three points."
LOEWS CHANGES EVERYTHING
Last year's Monaco Grand Prix winner Jarno Trulli ran as high as second during the safety car period. He then pulled off an outstanding manoeuvre to pass Giancarlo Fisichella at the Loews hairpin. But he pitted soon after, complaining of a handling problem. His eventual 10th place was hard earned and he remains in the world championship top three.
"I made a good start and I was doing a very good race at the beginning, keeping the pace. We were on a one-stop strategy so I was pushing 100 percent while taking care of the fuel. It wasn't easy but I was doing well. Unfortunately when I came out from my own pitstop I spent the second half of the race behind Fisichella who was struggling with his tyres and losing several seconds per lap. That meant I lost position on the two Williams as well. Then Giancarlo made a mistake into Mirabeau and I was able to overtake him into the Loews hairpin. But I hit the inside kerb which made my car feel unbalanced at the end. I came into the pits to check the problem and that moved me out of the points."
An exciting afternoon of racing around Monaco's twisty streets saw mixed fortunes for the two Toyota drivers. But Ralf Schumacher's three points are another useful addition to the team's haul for the year.
Tsutomu Tomita – Team Principal
"It was a very good race from Ralf and it was a very good, richly deserved result. After his crash yesterday, to drive a completely rebuilt car from last to 6th is a very good performance. It shows again that in Monaco anything can happen at any time. You just need to keep up there until the very end. By contrast, Jarno was very unlucky. Because we were on a one-stop strategy the safety car period didn't play into our hands and he ended up stuck behind another car. When he tried to pass him he went over the kerbs very heavily and then he reported a handling problem. We checked the car in the pit stop and didn't see anything which was why we sent him out again. It's a pity he missed out on points but both drivers performed very well and in terms of a spectacle this was one of the best races of the season."