Panasonic Toyota Racing is looking forward to the Hungarian Grand Prix with optimism after a successful qualifying session that saw Ralf Schumacher claim 6th place with Jarno Trulli starting 9th for the team’s best qualifying result of the season. Qualifying at the Hungaroring started on a windy afternoon with track temperatures around 30°C and both Ralf and Jarno left the pits in unison with three minutes gone. Their first flying laps were good enough to progress to Q2 but to make sure, both drivers improved their times at the end of the session. In Q2, a great lap from Jarno earned him third place and meant he had no need to record another lap time to be sure of reaching the top 10 shoot-out. Ralf also performed well and comfortably joined Jarno in the final session, with both Toyotas reaching Q3 for the third consecutive race. In the final seconds of Q3, Ralf put in an impressive lap for his best qualifying result of the season while Jarno also starts from a strong positio n. The team will now prepare for tomorrow’s race, when it expects to fight for points.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 11, Chassis TF107/05) PROVISIONAL GRID: 6th
Free Practice Session 3 8th Lap Time: 1m 20.933s (+0.750s) Laps: 21
Q1 7th Lap Time: 1m 20.449s (+0.879s) Laps: 7
Q2 8th Lap Time: 1m 20.445s (+1.144.s) Laps: 6
Q3 6th Lap Time: 1m 20.714s (+1.040s) Laps: 11
"That was a good day’s work for us. The lap was good, no problems – of course it can always be better. The circuit is very tight and it is very difficult to get a clean lap. We are really happy because we were competitive over one lap but also in the long runs we looked pretty competitive. This is a good achievement from the team and from me. Unfortunately sixth place is on the dirty side of the grid but we’ll do our best to get a good start and then fight at the front. The team has been working really hard and we brought another small improvement here but in general the car has improved over the last few races, at whichever circuit we go to, so we are happy about that. We have picked up pace compared to the people around us and that is positive. We have both cars in the top 10 so what we achieved today looks promising for the race tomorrow and I am looking forward to it."
Free Practice Session 3 7th Lap Time: 1m 20.878s (+0.695s) Laps: 22
Q1 8th Lap Time: 1m 20.481s (+0.911s) Laps: 6
Q2 3rd Lap Time: 1m 19.951s (+0.650s) Laps: 3
Q3 9th Lap Time: 1m 21.206s (+1.532s) Laps: 11
"I am a little bit disappointed especially for the last qualifying because the car was running pretty well in Q1 and Q2. My lap in Q1 wasn’t bad but it was quite windy and that affected the balance of the car and then in Q2 I had a very good lap and was actually in 3rd. That meant I was able to do only one lap to get through, which was very good. In the last part of qualifying, the car felt pretty heavy and a bit harder to drive. In general my lap was a bit slower than I expected and I’m not sure why. But, even so, we got both cars into the top 10 and that is a good achievement for the team. We are still in quite a good position and I hope we can push for more points tomorrow. Anyway it is a shame for me because I felt I could build on our good pace in Q2, when I was 3rd, and start higher up the grid."
Pascal Vasselon – Senior General Manager Chassis
"It was our best qualifying so far this season so we can only be happy with how it went. For the first time one of our cars went into Q3 with only one flying lap in Q2 so clearly we are in good shape here. Even so, we are just a little bit disappointed because from the data in Q1 and Q2 we thought we could get the cars a little bit higher up but, as usual, we don’t know what kind of strategy the other teams have been using. So far the weekend has gone very smoothly from an operational point of view. We did a lot of work yesterday, mainly around tyres because the story of the weekend here is management of the tyres and until the last minutes of Q3 kept everyone on the pit wall busy. It was a challenge to see which tyre type was most suited to the conditions but we seem to have made the right decision. As always we will see tomorrow but we are really looking forward to it."