After missing Friday practice though sickness, Mika Salo has done a superb job to qualify eighth for the British Grand Prix, round 10 of the Formula 1 World Championship at Silverstone. It is Panasonic Toyota Racing?s best starting position of the year, improving on the Finn?s ninth place in Monte Carlo.
Silverstone started badly for the team, with Salo suffering from a stomach infection and team mate Allan McNish prevented from working on a dry weather set-up by the rain. Salo in particular has responded superbly, his grid position a particularly strong achievement considering that Silverstone is ?home? to the many British-based F1 teams, which all test so regularly at the Northamptonshire track. By contrast, Panasonic Toyota Racing conducts much of its test programme at France?s Paul Ricard circuit.
"We had a slow morning with only a few laps done," Salo said, "The car was not great and then we had a flat battery in qualifying. But once that was sorted out it helped us when the sun came out because the car worked much better in hotter conditions. We have a bit of work to do with the race set-up, but after such a difficult start on Friday, eighth is better than good!"
McNish, meanwhile, was just 0.39s slower than his team mate but so evenly-matched is the midfield that the Scot will start 15th, seven slots behind Salo.
For McNish, there was frustration: "The time is not so bad but on the third run I got held up by someone coming through the critical fast sweepers at Becketts. I?m not going to blame him, but he had just come out of the pits and you are catching so quickly there. You?re never quite sure what someone is going to do and by the third part of Becketts, any little lift of the throttle costs you time all the way down following Hangar Straight, and I reckon I lost two or three tenths right there. With the midfield so close it made a big difference and was highly annoying!"
Panasonic Toyota Racing team manager Ange Pasquali added: "The team worked very well between the first and second practice sessions. That gave us a good direction for qualifying and Mika did a beautiful lap. This morning, we effectively had to start from zero doing our Friday job and squeezing everything into two 45-minute sessions. It will be an interesting race, starting on the fourth row, close to the pace setters, and hopefully we could score points."
For McNish, there was a typical Silverstone incident, when he could not avoid a ?Silverstone hare? in the middle of the Hangar Straight. The poor creature made a bit of a mess of the front wing as well as the TF102?s side pod?
British Grand Prix - Qualifying Results
Pos. Driver Team Time
1 Montoya BMW WilliamsF1 Team 1.18.989
2 Barrichello Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro 1.19.032
3 M Schumacher Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro 1.19.042
4 R Schumacher BMW WilliamsF1 Team 1.19.329
5 Raikkonen West McLaren Mercedes 1.20.133
6 Coulthard West McLaren Mercedes 1.20.315
7 Trulli Mild Seven Renault F1 Team 1.20.516
8 Salo Panasonic Toyota Racing 1.20.995
9 Villeneuve Lucky Strike BAR Honda 1.21.130
10 Heidfeld Sauber Petronas 1.21.187
11 Massa Sauber Petronas 1.21.191
12 Button Mild Seven Renault F1 Team 1.21.247
13 Panis Lucky Strike BAR Honda 1.21.274
14 Sato DHL Jordan Honda 1.21.337
15 McNish Panasonic Toyota Racing 1.21.382
16 Frentzen Orange Arrows 1.21.416
17 Fisichella DHL Jordan Honda 1.21.636
18 Bernoldi Orange Arrows 1.21.780
19 Irvine Jaguar Racing 1.21.851
20 Webber KL Minardi Asiatech 1.22.281
21 De La Rosa Jaguar Racing 1.23.422
22 Yoong KL Minardi Asiatech 1.24.785