Wet weather dictated the outcome of the first qualifying session for this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal today. Olivier Panis secured a top ten qualifying slot for the Panasonic Toyota Racing team after a trouble-free flying lap resulted in 10th place for the Frenchman. Cristiano da Matta, on the other hand, was not content with his 16th position after the persistently heavy rain led to poor levels of grip on the track.
Olivier Panis - Car Number 20, Chassis TF103/05
Session Classification: 10th
Lap Time: 1m37.313s +6.388s from pole
Starting position: 18th
"For everybody, it was incredibly wet out there today, but I tried to do the best lap possible to put us in a good position for second qualifying tomorrow. I think we have done a good job, especially considering that I have never previously tested the Michelin tyres we put on today. In these conditions, things look promising and it is a positive start for the first day. Of course, I hope it gets even better tomorrow. We are certainly going in the right direction."
Cristiano da Matta - Car Number 21, Chassis TF103/07
Session Classification: 16th
Lap Time: 1m38.244s +7.319s from pole
Starting Position: 13th
"It wasn't such a good day for me today. The conditions varied so much throughout the practice session that it was difficult to do any meaningful work. It was wet this morning, but it was even wetter in qualifying, which didn't help grip levels on my flying lap. It is always a tough challenge in the wet; there is absolutely no room for error and it is much harder to put a perfect lap together. It was quite a benefit knowing the track, particularly as we didn't have any proper dry running this morning."
Ange Pasquali - Team Manager
"We are happy with how we have started this weekend. We had a wet, but trouble-free practice session, which meant we could get our car in a good shape to suit the wet. We are obviously pleased with the qualifying results of Olivier and Cristiano given the awful state of the track today. With the track as wet as it was today, it is impossible to gauge the overall performance of the cars because no driver completed his flying lap on the same track, but generally it was a good day with no major problems. If the weather continues like this tomorrow, the rest of the weekend could be a bit of a lottery."
Weather: Persistent rain, getting heavier throughout the session.
Temperatures: Air 16-17, Track 16-17, Average Humidity 84%
T-Car: TF103/04 set up for Cristiano da Matta
Free Practice Review: A rain-soaked morning practice saw Olivier Panis set the fifth fastest time in 1m17.464s after just 16 laps with Cristiano da Matta eleventh in 1m18.559s, completing 24 laps. An inconsistent track made the practice session somewhat inconclusive, however the team was pleased to have a generally trouble-free session. The team is using a new specification RVX-03 and some new aero parts this weekend.