Panasonic Toyota racing’s Jarno Trulli didn’t have a satisfactory home race at the Monza circuit last weekend when after putting in a strong qualifying performance, the wet conditions on Sunday afternoon saw him languishing down the field in thirteenth place.
Here he reviews the European finale and explains why he was not as competitive in race trim as he would have liked to have been….
After qualifying seventh and running sixth what is your reaction to finishing 13th? It was disappointing but I think it was down to bad luck. We were unfortunate that the strategy didn't work out in those conditions - you cannot control the way the track or the weather develop throughout the race. We felt we had a strong strategy because we were on a one stop but unfortunately the switchover point from extreme wets to standard wets came a few laps after my only pit stop. It was not possible to put the standard wets on at my planned stop given the track conditions so we had to make an extra pit stop later in the race. If it had rained more heavily again in the middle of the race, as the forecasts were predicting, we would have been looking very good.
Did you have problems after the change to standard wets? I was not as competitive because the car was sliding around a lot. It just didn't work out for us. We thought Monza might be a difficult race before the weekend as we were using the harder compound tires but after qualifying we were more positive. We lost out by needing an extra stop and that was simply bad luck.
What was it like driving in the wet at Monza? It was quite an extreme experience and probably worse than people would think because of the nature of the track. Monza has the highest average speed on the calendar so the car is in low downforce spec, which doesn't help you much in the wet. The major problems were aquaplaning and the visibility. Following another car it is hard to see where you have to brake because the spray was just terrible and that can be dangerous.
Toyota was one of just two teams to qualify both cars in the top 10. How good an achievement was that? Myself, Timo and the whole team did a very good job. We didn't expect the TF108 to be at its best in low downforce configuration so the weather actually did us a favor, even if it made our jobs as drivers a lot tougher. The car did not feel great in the dry running we had on Friday afternoon but in the wet we were going well, except for a scary moment in Q2.
What happened there? We knew that heavier rain was forecast and you had to do your time early in the session. I did mine on my first flying lap but I was held up by Sebastian Vettel, who slowed down in front of me before the Parabolica and forced me to lift. It was a dangerous situation in those conditions. I was only 0.17s away from fastest Q2 time and without that incident I could have been quickest.
With the European season over, how do you view the remaining four Grands Prix? It's going to be exciting. Singapore is our second new venue of the season and, of course, our first night race. Then we have the Japan and China back-to-back races and that is always an interesting trip. Everyone remembers the weather at Fuji last year and I think that is an element that nobody can really predict at any of the four remaining races. We could have more races like Monza. Obviously Fuji is Toyota's home Grand Prix so we are all geared up to fight for a very strong result there and in general we are quite positive about our chances in all the remaining races.
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