Panasonic Toyota Racing will come away from today's Monaco Grand Prix with a solitary point after a battling drive to 8th place from Ralf Schumacher on a one-stop strategy. But it was a day of heartbreak for Jarno Trulli, who came within five laps of making the podium after an inspired day's work around the streets of the principality.
The Italian made the most of a similar strategy to power his way up to 3rd place before he succumbed to a hydraulic failure, coasting to a halt on the way up the hill from Ste Devote. Toyota is scheduled to continue testing its new TF106B package at Barcelona this week in preparation for next month's British Grand Prix.
Ralf Schumacher "To come away with a point is something, but it could have been so much more for Toyota today. We lost too many places at the start and I spent the first half of the race behind Heidfeld. We were quicker but as usual here it was impossible to overtake and our strategy did not allow us to break out of the traffic. That put paid to our chances of getting a better result. Still, the car went well and I kept pushing and we ended the race in the final points-scoring position. It was a hard day's work out there but at least we have shown stronger pace this weekend and we must now look to build on that in the coming races."
Jarno Trulli "Once again it's a tale of woe for me! It's frustrating because I am giving my best, doing everything I can in qualifying and the race and yet things are just not going right for me. Our pace was good today and the tyres were consistent. I could have gone quicker but I spent most of the afternoon in traffic so I never had a clear lap to really push. When I came into the pits with Barrichello I could tell that he had forgotten to hit the pit limiter. At the end I was just bringing the car home and everything was under control until the sudden hydraulic problem. It's obviously a pity to miss out on a podium here for the second year in a row. But at least we showed better pace at times and we must now build on that. I still believe that the team is doing a good job and working really hard but there is still work to do."
WORK TO DO
Panasonic Toyota Racing had high hopes of gaining points at its home grand prix, yet returns to its Cologne-based factory with homework to do before heading into next week's race.
Tsutomu Tomita, Team Principal "We have to be pleased about getting a point from Ralf, who battled hard throughout the race. But to say we are disappointed about what happened to Jarno is an understatement. He had raced hard from the start in heavy traffic and for him to suffer a hydraulic problem so close to the flag was a cruel blow. So it was a bitter finish, but at least we can say that the team performed better over the course of the weekend. It was a correct decision to go for a one-stop strategy and it worked well. We will have to investigate our poor starts but at least our pace was good on the heavy tanks. We brought Ralf in earlier than we had to because he was stuck behind Heidfeld, who we expected so stay out longer. Unfortunately they both came in at the same time but it was the only thing we could try. Jarno similarly spent most of his race behind Barrichello so we can only congratulate the drivers on doing such a good job today. It was a bad day for us in terms of the race results but the gap to the top teams is closing and we will continue developing and fighting in order to achieve a podium as soon as possible."