Panasonic Toyota Racing approaches the Belgian Grand Prix with optimism after both Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher qualified in the top half of the grid at Spa-Francorchamps today. After strong practice form, the team was optimistic of a good showing in qualifying and Jarno will start 8th with Ralf 11th. On the longest circuit in Formula 1 and with a track temperature of 28°C, both Ralf and Jarno comfortably progressed through Q1 with their final flying laps. But Q2 saw only the Toyota of Jarno make it through, with Ralf setting the 12th fastest time, although he moves up one spot on the grid after a 10-place penalty for a competitor. Jarno set the 9th fastest time in Q3 despite some traffic on his final flying lap and he starts from 8th. The team now focuses on tomorrow’s 44-lap race and it will push hard to get the best possible result, with the aim of scoring more points.
Free Practice Session 3 6th Lap Time: 1m 47.218s (+1.081s) Laps: 11
Q1 10th Lap Time: 1m 47.143s (+1.085s) Laps: 6
Q2 10th Lap Time: 1m 46.480s (+1.410s) Laps: 6
Q3 9th Lap Time: 1m 47.798s (+1.804s) Laps: 9
"I am reasonably happy with today’s result. Again we have done quite a good job to get into the top 10 and thanks to the team so far it has been a smooth weekend, with no problems on the car. Starting from 8th place is not bad - it is a good place from which to fight in the race tomorrow. It is always difficult to overtake in Formula 1 but I will give my all to make up some positions. I believe we have quite a good strategy for the race, looking at what happened in Q3, so I am pretty confident. Obviously my aim is to bounce back into the points at the best circuit in the world, and I will do my best. I just hope we can get everything right from the start to the end of the race."
Ralf Schumacher (Car 11, Chassis TF107/05) PROVISIONAL GRID: 11th
Free Practice Session 3 9th Lap Time: 1m 47.454s (+1.317s) Laps: 19
Q1 12th Lap Time: 1m 47.300s (+1.242s) Laps: 6
Q2 12th Lap Time: 1m 46.618s (+1.548s) Laps: 5
"It is frustrating not to get into the top 10 because I think we had the pace to do it. Practice went well and we were hopeful of a good result in qualifying. I think we were looking good but unfortunately on my last run in Q2 the out lap didn’t go as planned and I could not warm my tyres and brakes as much as I would have liked, so I had some understeer. That was it really for me. But I believe the car is strong and we have the potential to fight for points tomorrow. Obviously it will be easier for Jarno as he is starting in the top 10 but I will try my best from where I am on the grid and we will see what we can do."
Pascal Vasselon – Senior General Manager Chassis
"That was an average qualifying result for us. Jarno made it to the top 10 but we were expecting a better result overall after our performances in practice. Jarno did a good job in Q1 and Q2 but on his last lap he had some traffic and that affected his time. From Ralf’s side, he did well in Q1 but in Q2 he had warm-up issues and his lap time was compromised by too much understeer. Otherwise, our preparation has gone well and in terms of the strategy and tyre choices we had to make, they were reasonably straightforward. The option tyres behaved exactly in line with what we saw at the test session here so there were no surprises there. For the race, considering our starting positions, scoring points is the obvious target."