Speed gets best F1 result yet
Scott Speed put in his best F1 performance yet with an outstanding charge from 18th to ninth May 27 through the tricky street circuit of the Monaco Grand Prix.
Four days earlier, in the morning practice session Thursday, May 24, Speed turned 27 laps and posted the 12th-best time in his Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari. In the afternoon, he added another 40 laps and was 18th quickest.
"The most important thing on this first day at Monaco is that I did not hit the wall!" he said. "We have some new parts on the car since the Ricard test (in France), and they worked quite well. I'd say that the car is now turning much sharper, which is useful around here. Now I just need to find some more pace for Saturday."
The F1 cars don't run Friday in Monaco, so Speed had the day off.
It rained during the morning practice session Saturday, May 26. Speed clocked the fifth-quickest time in that session. But in qualifying that afternoon, Speed was eliminated in the first of the three sessions.
"Confusion in the pits cost me a lot today," he said, "as I got called into the weigh bridge and then ended up coming into the garage just before (my teammate) Tonio (Liuzzi) arrived in the pit stop position. On top of that, my brakes were on fire when I came into the weigh bridge. Just a bad day all round!"
Giorgio Ascanelli, Toro Rosso's technical director, explained what went wrong: "We tried to give the drivers as much time as possible on fresh rubber, but we made a mistake, as our plan for Scott was compromised when he was called to the weigh bridge. I think we should have sent him out again immediately, but we did not. The factory has worked hard for the past two weeks to get us something new that only arrived last night. It's hard to tell whether it works or not, but it seems to have had a positive effect."
Speed lined up 18th for the 78-lap race. Liuzzi, who made it through to the second qualifying session, started 13th.
Speed didn't stay 18th for long. At the end of Lap 1, he was already up in 14th place. After that, he drove a steady race, picking up positions. He finished an outstanding ninth.
"My engineer and I did everything right today," California native Speed said. "We guessed really good on the front-wing setting. One pit stop was the way to go. There was no other option from where we started.
"At the end, my brake pedal started to go to the floor, so for the last four laps I stopped pushing. I knew that the guys behind be weren't going to pass me, and I knew that I was not going to catch the guy in front of me. I had a couple close calls because I could not control the brakes like I wanted to."
Normally, quite a few cars retire from the Monaco Grand Prix. But the eight cars in front of Speed kept going to the end of the race, and therefore he just missed scoring a point.
While he was disappointed not to earn his first F1 point, Speed was pleased with his race.
"I didn't expect to be this competitive in the race," he said. "We have made a good step forward."
The next races on Speed's agenda are the Canadian Grand Prix on June 10 at Montreal followed by his home Grand Prix of the United States on June 17 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
2007 USGP tickets: Reserved Race Day and three-day "Season Passes" for the 2007 United States Grand Prix, June 15-17, are on sale to all customers.
Ticket information can be found any time at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com or by calling the IMS Ticket Office at (800) 822-4639 or (317) 492-6700. Ticket Office hours are from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.