Trulli upbeat after fourth-place result for Toyota 23 Mar 2008
Jarno Trulli believes Toyota can return to their 2005 levels of performance after his impressive showing in Sundays Malaysian Grand Prix. Third on the grid, Trulli fought back from a poor start to finish fourth after holding off a strong challenge from McLarens Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages.
It was Toyotas best result since Ralf Schumachers fourth place in the 2006 French Grand Prix and Trulli, who was faster than anyone bar Ferrari and McLaren in qualifying, is hopeful the Japanese squad can now rediscover the form that made him a regular podium contender during the 2005 season.
Its nice to be back in the points after such a strong race, said the exhausted looking Italian. Im especially happy for the team both here and in Cologne. This result is mainly down to their work over the winter and I dedicate it to them. I had a difficult first corner when I lost grip, ran wide and touched Nick Heidfeld, losing a bit of ground. But after that I was able to keep up with the McLarens. Then we made it past Mark Webber as the team did a good job at the pit stops.
At the end it was a great fight with Lewis Hamilton and we were pushing each other hard. He was obviously slightly quicker than me but I gave 100 percent and thanks to the teams good job and the trouble-free weekend we took fourth. I just hope we can carry on improving the performance of the car, because as I mentioned at the end of winter testing we are looking strong. With Toyotas potential we can bounce back to the 2005 level already this year.
Trullis team mate Timo Glock had a far less satisfactory afternoon, retiring after only one lap thanks to suspension damage sustained after being hit from behind by Williams Nico Rosberg. Despite this, team principal Tadashi Yamashina couldnt hide his delight with the teams Sepang achievements.
This completely makes up for the disappointment of Australia, he said. Everyone at the team is so happy with this result after such a good race. The last stint fight with Hamilton was exactly the kind of battle that I like so I really want to thank Jarno for an excellent performance. He lost ground when he was sandwiched into the first corner but then he was quick throughout and the fuel strategy and pit stops were perfect.
Trullis Malaysia result puts him eighth in the driver standings on five points, one behind Rosberg and Fernando Alonso. Toyota lie sixth in the constructors championship, one point adrift of Renault.
Adding to Toyota's celebrations on Sunday was reserve driver Kamui Kobayashi, who took his first GP2 Asia series win with a lights-to-flag victory in the sprint race.