Panasonic Toyota Racing will have one car on row three of the grid for tomorrow’s Chinese Grand Prix after a hard afternoon of qualifying at the Shanghai International Circuit. Ralf Schumacher successfully made it into Q3 and took 6th place on the grid after a strong performance in his penultimate race for Toyota. Both he and Jarno Trulli made it through a highly competitive P1 but it was a fraught session with ten cars covered by a quarter of a second. Q2 was also very tight and while Ralf made it through, Jarno was less lucky and missed out with the 13th fastest time. The circuit remained dry today, despite strong winds at times, but rain is expected for tomorrow as Shanghai braces itself for the fringes of the approaching Typhoon Krosa. Now the team will work hard overnight as it bids to make the most of these positions and make progress in the race.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 11, Chassis TF107/05) PROVISIONAL GRID: 6th
Free Practice Session 3 5th Lap Time: 1m 36.959s (+0.859s) Laps: 18
Q1 11th Lap Time: 1m 37.135s (+1.443s) Laps: 7
Q2 9th Lap Time: 1m 26.709s (+1.328s) Laps: 6
Q3 6th Lap Time: 1m 38.013s (+2.105s) Laps: 10
"Obviously we are happy with what we achieved today in qualifying. It was a decent session overall and the car felt good throughout, even if it was a bit more difficult to drive with the fuel on board in Q3. So I’m happy to have made it into the top six. Nonetheless it will be a tough race because there is heavy rain forecast so anything is possible. I’m sure some people will have amended their strategies given what we saw last week in Fuji but we’ll find out tomorrow. We weren’t very strong in that race so we will hope for better here. It’s really great to see so many local fans in the stands here in Shanghai. I hope they will come again for the race and I hope we will do a good job for them."
Free Practice Session 3 14th Lap Time: 1m 37.679s (+1.579s) Laps: 20
Q1 15th Lap Time: 1m 37.209s (+1.517s) Laps: 7
Q2 13th Lap Time: 1m 36.959s (+1.578s) Laps: 6
"This has been a difficult day which started this morning when I had a problem finding grip in the car. Straight from the first lap I noticed the balance had changed compared to yesterday and I just couldn’t understand how. The more laps I did the worse it seemed to get. The wind is stronger today but that didn’t really affect things. So this afternoon I was really short of pace and I was just able to make it through the first session but that was it. If we cannot find out the cause of the problem tonight I may have to switch to the T-car tomorrow. Of course we are expecting another wet race so that will have a massive effect but I will go out there and push as hard as ever to bring home a result."
Pascal Vasselon – Senior General Manager Chassis
"It was quite a contrast today. Ralf’s preparations have gone well all weekend and he is pretty much where we expected to be on the grid. Following the practice sessions, the conclusions in terms of tyre choice and set-up were very clear. So for Ralf I would say that everything has gone according to plan so far. For Jarno it’s a different story. Yesterday the two cars were in similar conditions with similar conclusions and a similar direction. But it started to go wrong for him this morning and he was really struggling to find tyre grip. It seems that other cars may have faced the same problem because some teams are not where we would expect them to be on the grid. But now we will have more work to do to analyse why that has happened. For tomorrow we clearly expect a wet race so we have tuned our preparations, set-up work and strategy to optimise everything for that. Now we will push hard for a good finish in the race."