Panasonic Toyota Racing secured three more points at today's action-packed German Grand Prix after Ralf Schumacher took a hard-earned 6th place. Under overcast skies, Ralf started 12th and drove well all day, benefiting from a good strategy to climb through the field. But it was a dramatic day for Jarno Trulli, who had to pit to replace a damaged front left tyre after a first lap collision. Jarno rejoined at the back and battled his way up before a late drive-through penalty for a blue flag infringement. A final, unplanned pitstop to refill his engine's pneumatic fluid led to his eventual retirement on the last lap. This result, in front of an audience that included German hip hop band Die Fantastische Vier, consolidates Toyota's 4th place in the constructors' championship with a total of 57 points.
A VERY GOOD DREI
Ralf Schumacher started with a heavy fuel load and pushed hard all day to take his third straight points finish at today's German Grand Prix. He moves up to 8th place in the drivers' championship on 26 points.
"That was an exciting race for the public and a good one for me as well. I said yesterday that we could have a good race today and so it proved. I didn't make the best of starts and I found myself crowded out, but it is always like that in Hockenheim. From then on our strategy was excellent, including a long stint before the first pit stop. We could even have ended up one or two positions higher. Unfortunately when I came out of the pits after my first stop the tyres took a couple of laps to get my lap times back while I was struggling for grip. But three points is another good result. The team did a great job and we have to be happy with this result."
TRULLI MAMMOTH TASK
Jarno Trulli endured a dramatic German Grand Prix, pitting on the first lap after picking up a puncture. Later he earned a drive-through penalty before retiring after a problem with his engine's pneumatic pressure.
"That was a very unlucky day for me. At the start the car didn't pull away well, then at first corner I had a problem with Webber, who was suffering with his gearbox and just pushed me wide onto the very outside of the circuit. I picked up a puncture and found the car difficult to stop into the second and third corners and down the straight. So I had to pit and change the front left tyre. The balance was fine after that, and in fact the car felt very good today, better than it has for a couple of races, and I was able to overtake Sato down the straight. Later on I knew there were blue flags, but they came just as I was overtaking Heidfeld. I let Montoya past immediately afterwards but was given a penalty. Finally I had a problem with the pneumatic pressure in the engine and I was forced to stop. All in all, that was just one of those races when everything happened."
Ralf's three points consolidate Panasonic Toyota Racing's grip on 4th place in the constructors' championship.
Tsutomu Tomita – Team Principal
"That was a good race from Ralf, and we have to be encouraged by today. But given the race pace we had today we really could have hoped for more. Ralf's long first stint paid off and got him into a very good position. Unfortunately he lost a couple of places after his first stop, which we were able to get back at the end. Jarno's race was ruined in the first couple of corners when he got pushed off by a Williams, picked up a puncture on his front left tyre and had to pit. He drove a strong race until he picked up a drive-through penalty. That was unfortunate because he was trying to overtake Heidfeld, which obviously distracted him. Then we had a pneumatic problem on his engine, and he came in to refill it before we finally had to stop the car. It was a shame not to be able to come away with even more but we have to be very encouraged by the pace we showed here today."