Panasonic Toyota Racing endured a frustrating Monaco Grand Prix as Jarno Trulli took the chequered flag in 15th position, one place and 0.9 seconds ahead of team-mate Ralf Schumacher after a race to forget for the team. A difficult qualifying session left Jarno in 14th and Ralf in 20th on the grid, giving both drivers an uphill task in the 78-lap race. That task became harder when they lost ground at the start on the run into St Devote, with Ralf dropping to 22nd and Jarno to 18th. However, Jarno was overtaken illegally by Takuma Sato in the hectic first corner and took back that position soon after. As is traditional at Monaco, traffic proved to be a problem and both drivers found it difficult to improve their positions despite setting some competitive lap times in clean air. The team opted for one-stop strategies and Jarno was first into the pits on lap 47 to switch to the super soft Bridgestones, with Ralf following suit two laps later before a clean run to the chequered flag. Toyota's next engagement is the Canadian Grand Prix in two weeks for the first race of a North American double-header.
Jarno Trulli: At the start of the race the car almost stalled. I had to do a good job to pick up the clutch and start the race. I lost a lot of positions at the first corner so from the very start I was just keeping up with the cars in front of me and then the brakes started heating up as they did in qualifying. I had to slow down a bit and the only thing I could do from there was bring the car to the end of the race. It was a difficult race for me and now we have to work hard before the next race and make some improvements.
Ralf Schumacher: It was just stuck in traffic in the first laps. That made the race very difficult from then on. The pace was not too bad when you compare it with the others when I was on a clear track. I lost a lot of time stuck in that position as you could see from my lap times when I had a clear track in front of me. The balance was actually quite okay later on and I was able to push a bit harder. We could clearly have been fighting for points today for sure if we had qualified better. Qualifying was really where our race was decided but I will try hard to get that right and hope for better next time.
Tsutomu Tomita – Team Principal: To be honest before coming to Monaco we had very strong confidence about our competitiveness and on Thursday we were actually competitive. I thought it was very promising for the race but on Saturday in practice we were struggling and in the afternoon in qualifying it was a bit of a disaster for us honestly. We lost many, many positions to slip to 14th and 20th. From then we could do nothing about the race. Jarno's race was over really very quickly when the engine almost stalled at the start and he was passed by many cars. Ralf also got passed by a few cars at the start and it is just impossible to overtake here. Therefore from this point of view the two drivers fought very well today but we could do nothing. The very important thing to learn right now is to bring the best performance of the car to the race and we will challenge again to do that in Canada.
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