A flying start to this weekend's Italian Grand Prix resulted in both Panasonic Toyota Racing TF103s in the top ten for first qualifying in Monza today. Cristiano da Matta drove a spectacular lap to take 4th place, whilst Olivier Panis rounded off the top ten in 10th spot, despite using the T-car for his run after experiencing some set-up problems on his race car in this morning's practice session.
Cristiano da Matta - Car Number 21, Chassis TF103/04
Session Classification: 4th
Lap Time: 1m21.829s +1.173s from pole
Running Order: 12th
"I am very happy with my qualifying time. Since the first few laps this morning we have been more confident than we were at the test last week. I want to thank the engineers, who have all done a good job over the weekend to study the data from last week and to make the car stronger. It makes a difference to have driven the three days last week, because I have not had to spend time learning the track this morning and I have been able to get a good feeling with the car. Fourth place is certainly a good way to start the weekend."
Olivier Panis - Car Number 20, Chassis TF103/07
Session Classification: 10th
Lap Time: 1m22.372s +1.716s from pole
Running Order: 14th
"It has been a difficult day for me today, but I am generally quite happy with tenth place. I wasn't really comfortable with the car in this morning's session and we had a few small mechanical problems, so I decided to take the T-car for qualifying. In the end, there wasn't much difference, but we'll work hard on things tonight to improve the car for tomorrow. On a more positive note, I am pleased for Cristiano - he drove very well today."
Luca Marmorini - General Manager Engine Department
"I think 4th and 10th position in today's qualifying session is an encouraging start to the weekend. However, there is over a second between us and the frontrunners, so we have to keep our feet on the ground. Cristiano did a very commendable job and set the fastest first sector of the session. It was a shame Olivier could not do a similar time, but he nevertheless drove a respectable lap and had a very good second sector time. We are at over 70% full throttle at Monza - the most of the season - so it is tough on the engine. Things have run smoothly today, so I think we should be optimistic."
Weather: Hot and sunny
T-Car: TF103/08 set up for Olivier Panis. Spare Chassis: TF103/02
Weekend at a Glance
Friday practice (dry track)
Da Matta P6, 1m21.881s, 24 laps
Panis P12, 1m22.584s, 20 laps