Cristiano da Matta finished today's Monaco Grand Prix in 9th place after a generally trouble-free 78-lap race. Team-mate Olivier Panis had a torrid time and did well to bring his TF103 home in 13th, four laps down, to claim only his second finish of the season. A lack of overall track grip has been at the root of a problematic weekend for the Panasonic Toyota Racing team and a two-car finish - the team's first since Imola - was little consolation.
Cristiano da Matta - Car Number 21, Chassis TF103/07
Classification: 9th +1 lap (from race winner)
Starting Position: 10th
"We had a good strategy today and I had a clean race with a lot of clear track. I was out there pretty much on my own for the 78 laps with no traffic, which meant I didn't lose too much time. Finishing ninth behind the top four teams is a reasonable result and I think this was all we had in the car today. I didn't have any specific mechanical problems; just oversteer for most of the race and some lack of grip. Overall, things only started to come together for me from a driving point of view yesterday, and I think the team has done a good job. We need to work on our performance, but we are testing a lot and I am sure it's all going to come together soon."
Olivier Panis - Car Number 20, Chassis TF103/04
Classification: 13th +4 laps (from race winner)
Starting Position: 17th
"The result today was extremely disappointing for me and for the whole team. We couldn't find a cure to the grip level problem we have been suffering from all weekend, so we decided to run a different strategy, stopping just once in the race, but the car was really difficult to drive. There must have been something wrong, but we don't know what. We really need to improve a lot of things in order to get better."
Ove Andersson - Team Principal
"Cristiano's result today reflected where we are in terms of competitiveness at the moment. I can't say that I am happy, but I am not entirely unhappy - ninth is a representative result for us this weekend. Olivier must have had a problem of some kind, because his car was not good at all, but this has to be checked. I have to say that the drivers performed faultlessly all weekend and I appreciate their full efforts in spite of the difficult circumstances."
Weather: Dry, warm and sunny, clouding over during the race.
T-Car: TF103/05 and TF103/06. Panis and Da Matta both have a T-car this weekend.
Review: Panis set the 13th fastest time in Thursday practice (1m17.811s) after 21 laps. On his first run at Monaco, Da Matta was 20th (1m19.956s). The team endured a torrid qualifying session with Panis suffering from lack of grip to line up 18th (1m19.903s) and Da Matta 19th (1m20.374s). Saturday morning free practice saw some slight improvements to the TF103s, but the poor grip levels remained. Da Matta was 15th (1m17.686s) after 38 laps, whilst Panis was 17th (1m18.101s) after 25 tours. Da Matta put in an impressive qualifying lap to line up 10th on the grid (1m16.744s), whilst Panis opted for a one-stop race strategy and qualified 17th (1m17.464s).
Preview: 3-5 June - Monza test (Zonta 3 / Panis 4-5)
3-5 June - Silverstone test (Da Matta 3-4 / Zonta 5)