Q&A with Toyotas Timo Glock 05 Aug 2008
Following a high-speed accident at Hockenheim and a bout of food poisoning during the recent multi-team test at Jerez, Toyotas Timo Glock has had a rough ride recently. On Sunday, however, Glock left the Hungaroring with a spring in his step, after clinching the first podium finish of his Formula One career. Here Glock reflects on the Budapest race
Q: From stretcher at Hockenheim to podium at Hungaroring. How does that feel?
Timo Glock: Just unbelievable. I almost had to pinch myself when I saw Felipe Massa's engine failing with three laps to go and I knew that I was in second position. I had pressure from Kimi Raikkonen in the other Ferrari over the closing laps and I was struggling a little with the softer tyre in the final stint. We knew from Friday practice that the soft tyres would be more difficult. I had a reasonable pace and saw I was nine seconds ahead of Kimi but then the team told me that he was half a second a lap quicker. I just tried to push more while staying focused on not destroying the tyres. In the end he was catching me up but I kept cool and made sure I didn't make any mistakes. I knew from GP2 how hard it is to pass in Budapest and it is even tougher in F1.
Q: You qualified fifth in Hungary, your best grid position by three places, and then came the podium. How do you explain the progress?
TG: In Hockenheim we had a good race pace before my crash and we came to Budapest and just kept that speed. The TF108 felt really good from Friday onwards and we didn't have to make any big changes. It was just perfect until that last stint with soft tyres, which was a bit tricky. I'm in my first full F1 championship and with just half a season gone I'm on the podium! It feels great - it was a perfect weekend.
Q: You managed to beat Robert Kubica's BMW Sauber away from the grid and take fourth place on the opening lap. How important was that?
TG: It was pretty important the way things worked out because Robert had a tough race. I've had to improve my starts because my reaction times were not perfect at the first couple of races. This time the start was really great. And actually, although qualifying was good I felt I might even have been a couple of places further up the grid. I was second fastest to Massa's Ferrari with low fuel in Q2 but struggled a bit in Q3 with tyre temperatures. I actually set my best time on used tyres because I couldn't get the tyres up to temperature for the first flying lap of my last run because Kubica was a bit slower on the out lap compared to me and I had to slow down. I lost a bit of performance on the flying lap but in the end I was happy with fifth even though I thought I could have gone quicker than Robert.
Q: Has anything fundamentally changed to help your performance?
TG: I don't like an understeering car and that was a problem sometimes this season. But in Hockenheim and Budapest the feel of the car was much more in my direction and better suited my driving style. I could just put the car where I wanted to in a corner and that was the case in both qualifying and the race.
Q: Were there any after affects following your Hockenheim crash?
TG: No. Until I came into the medical centre I was sure that maybe I made a mistake and ran a bit too wide over the kerb with a heavy-fuelled car. I had felt some bottoming and so I thought it might be my own mistake. But then the team told me that the rear suspension collapsed and that was the reason for the crash. When I saw it for the first time it looked more spectacular than it felt in the car. For sure it was a bit painful on the back in the first impact and I must have breathed at the wrong moment because I was a bit winded. But I was ready to go home from hospital that night although it was standard practice to keep me overnight for observation.
Q: What did it feel like to be front page news for a few days?
TG: Actually, answering all the same questions probably took more energy out of me than the crash. I want to make the news for race results, not accidents! In fact, what was worse was a minor case of food poisoning I picked up at the Jerez test the week after. The heat was no issue in Hungary but when I drank quite a lot throughout the race I again had a few problems with my stomach. I wasn't feeling perfect after the race but the heat wasn't the biggest problem.
Q: Do you think the team is well placed now to finish fourth in the constructors' championship?
TG: The grid is very competitive and at one circuit or in certain conditions Red Bull is stronger, then next race it is us, and so it's quite up and down and difficult to predict. But the TF108 has shown good performance in hot conditions and we were always confident for Budapest.
Q: What do you know about the new Valencia circuit which hosts the next race?
TG: I've studied a computer game, walked around the track and seen some pictures from the recent F3 race there. It looks pretty interesting for a street circuit.
Q: What is on your personal agenda for the summer break?
TG: I will go to Los Angeles, to Monterey, where there is a big old-timer event where I will drive a Toyota sportscar. Then maybe I'll spend four or five days in LA and have a little break there. I will definitely watch the Olympics. I don't have any special names to support but the cycling is definitely one thing I will follow closely.