Q&A with Toyotas Timo Glock 03 Nov 2008
Toyotas decision to keep their drivers on dry tyres when late ran arrived at Interlagos on Sunday helped set up a thrilling finale to the 2008 Formula One season. It also led cynics to question whether Timo Glock had deliberately slowed to assure Lewis Hamilton of the title. Absolutely not, says the German
Q: How did the rain at the end of the race affect your strategy?
Timo Glock: In the final laps we saw that we had the opportunity to make up some places due to the rain. It started to rain lightly on parts of the circuit with around six laps to go and at that stage everyone was on dry tyres. We took the decision to stay out on dry tyres even though the intensity of the rain was increasing we were sure we could make up positions when the other cars pitted for wet weather tyres and because it was only on the last couple of laps that the wet tyre was superior. We stayed out and I was up to fourth but it was not easy in those conditions in the last laps.
Q: What was it like in wet conditions with dry tyres?
TG: It was not so bad until the final lap when the rain really began to come down very heavily and it was just impossible. It was so difficult to just keep the car on the track because it was very wet and the car was basically undriveable in those conditions. I was sliding everywhere, with absolutely no grip at all.
Q: Were you taking it easy on the final lap?
TG: Absolutely not! It was completely the opposite; the final lap was one of the hardest laps I have done in Formula One because there was no grip at all and on dry tyres it was almost impossible to keep the car on track. I was pushing really hard to keep fourth place and if you look at the lap times I was actually faster than Jarno on the final lap and he was the only other car on dry tyres at that stage.
Q: Was it the right decision to stay on dry tyres?
TG: Absolutely no doubt about it. We were running seventh before the rain came and we would have probably finished there if it had been totally dry. Instead we finished sixth so that shows the strategy was the right one.
Q: Did you realise the significance of Lewis Hamilton fighting with you on the final lap?
TG: To be honest I was racing for Toyota and my place which is the correct thing to do. I didn't even know that Lewis was directly behind me. The team told me that Sebastian Vettel was catching me and they kept me updated on his position but I was concentrating so hard on keeping the car on the track. I didn't even know that Lewis had overtaken me until after the race. I was passed by three or four cars on the final lap and it was not easy to keep track of what was going on.
Q: This is the end of your first season with Toyota, how do you assess the year?
TG: It has been very positive for me. At the start of the season I set myself a target of scoring 20 points and in the end I have finished with 25 and a podium in Budapest, so I am very happy with that. The first few races were a bit difficult as I was adjusting to a new car and a new team but we all worked really hard to improve and we made good progress. Finishing fourth in Canada was a big boost for me and the team but the turning point was Hockenheim, where I was really competitive in the race until the mechanical problem. After that I was fighting high up the grid in pretty much every race and we scored a lot of points. But this is only the first step and next year I want to achieve a lot more, so we are already working hard to make another step.