Mixed fortunes for Japanese manufacturer in Melbourne
Nico Rosberg ensured it was the customer team leading home the works team as far as Toyota were concerned in Sundays Australian Grand Prix. Rosberg finished seventh in the Toyota-powered Williams, beating the Japanese squads own drivers, Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli, into eighth and ninth respectively.
Despite starting behind Schumacher and Trulli on the grid, Rosberg found the necessary speed to out-pace both men over the course of the race and pulled off a particularly strong overtaking move to pass Ralf on lap 36.
I wasnt perhaps expecting today would turn out so well, but I started last years first race from 12th place and finished 7th, so I thought I could maybe do it again given my qualifying position, said Rosberg. I have taken the best out of our car today and I was particularly happy that overtaking Ralf was successful - I was taking a chance of course, but youve got to try it and it was good for the team.
Toyota admitted they were not competitive enough, but were grateful to score a point - and, more importantly, to get both cars home in the points after experiencing several reliability problems during winter testing. Both drivers also overcame technical issues during the race.
The starting grid positions were not bad but the race pace of both cars was not quick enough compared to the front-runners, said team principal Tsutomu Tomita. So we are definitely too far away compared to where we want to be and we have some work to do.
Jarno had an oil spillage as he left for the parade lap but that was not a major issue. Later on Ralf had a pneumatic consumption problem and it was marginal to reach the finish. Jarno also had trouble with his brakes but in the end it was successful because they both finished the race.
The only Toyota-powered driver not to finish in Melbourne was Alex Wurz in the second Williams. The Austrian was forced into retirement after a heavy collision with the Red Bull's David Coulthard, who accepted responsibility for the accident.