It was a generally positive day for the Panasonic Toyota Racing team at the Hungaroring today. Having topped the morning free practice session, Olivier Panis put in another strong run to score the seventh quickest time in first qualifying. Cristiano da Matta was also on course for a top ten slot, but his TF103 span towards the end of the flying lap, ultimately placing the Brazilian at the back of the field. As a result, Da Matta will be the first man to take to the track in tomorrow's grid-determining qualifying hour. Panis will go out 14th.
Olivier Panis - Car Number 20, Chassis TF103/04
Session Classification: 7th
Lap Time: 1m22.986s +0.628s from pole
Running Order: 14th
"Seventh place is a respectable result, however I am not really satisfied. I was really impressed by the competitiveness of the car this morning and the grip that we had, but for whatever reason the grip levels were not as good we had this afternoon. The Hungaroring is very dusty of the first day of the weekend, so it is not unusual for the track to change so much between sessions. Although I expected to do a bit better, we should still be encouraged by the start to this weekend."
Cristiano da Matta - Car Number 21, Chassis TF103/07
Session Classification: 20th
Lap Time: 1m55.138s +32.780s from pole
Running Order: 12th
"I don't really know exactly what happened to cause me to spin towards the end of my lap. It could have been a failure of the traction control. It didn't feel like I made a mistake, but it happened so quickly we'll have to look into it. I had already gone through the difficult part at the entry of the corner, where the car can be a bit oversteery, so it was quite a strange spin. It is only the first day of this race weekend and we did some good work this morning, so I hope we can turn this result around tomorrow."
Ange Pasquali - Team Manager
"First of all, it was surprising to see how much the track conditions changed in the two hours between the practice and qualifying sessions. It was a shame that Cristiano's car span after a good start to his lap, but that's all part of racing. Olivier lost some time from this morning's practice, and that can probably be attributed to the state of the track, but we have to understand from the data exactly how much the lap time was affected. All in all, we have got a top ten result on the first day of the Hungarian GP, and the real qualifying comes tomorrow, so we should be quite satisfied."
Weather: Hot and sunny
T-Car: TF103/08 set up for Cristiano da Matta. Spare Chassis: TF103/02.
Friday practice (dry track)
Panis P1, 1m21.770s, 24 laps
Da Matta P5, 1m22.700s, 25 laps