Toyota have been threatening to cause problems for BMW Sauber for the last few races, and in qualifying in Hungary Timo Glock almost did just that after planting his TF108 on the third row, ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Unfazed by his nasty crash in Hockenheim a fortnight ago, Glock let loose a searing pace as he hustled his Toyota over the Budapest kerbing en-route to fifth place, less than a tenth of a second shy of BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica.
Furthermore, there is every reason to assume that his pace his genuine with his second place in the all-critical Q2 where the teams and drivers run on low fuel levels leading Toyota to instigate an investigation into why the team “slightly underperformed” in Q3.
“That was a very good qualifying session for me and I’m obviously delighted,” revelled Glock afterwards. “We made a good start in first practice yesterday. The team did a good job overnight and we made the right choice over set-up.”
“It wasn’t easy today because we had a very tight choice over tyres so we had to make a close decision for every lap. But in the end my engineers stayed cool and got it right. In Q2 the car felt perfect.”
“Then on the very last lap it was a bit trickier again because the tyres didn’t behave quite as well, but I’m happy with P5. We are in a great situation for tomorrow.”
It is the third time that Glock as out-qualified his vastly more experienced team-mate Jarno Trulli, who was disappointed to line up ninth, though the Italian veteran maintains a significant lead in the head-to-head tally.
The performance also marks a significant step forward for Toyota, who have had a decent run of form of late, with strong results in Canada and Magny-Cours, albeit without much to show for their efforts in Silverstone and Hockenheim. But the TF108, complete with a new aerodynamic package for Hungary, looks well suited to the demands of the Hungaroring, at least in the hands of Timo Glock, and could spring a surprise in the race.
However, with Jarno Trulli struggling with the balance of his TF108, Toyota have said they will investigate the cause of the difference between their pace in Q2 and Q3.
“We were fighting in the top three for all the sessions, except for the very last lap,” explained Pascal Vasselon, Toyota’s Senior General Manager. “We will investigate what happened but compared to the outings before we slightly underperformed.”
“Still, there is no room for disappointment. Timo took his best ever grid position and he was very strong during all the sessions. We’ll have to see what the fuel loads are tomorrow but when all the cars were at low fuel he was consistently in the top three.”
“Jarno struggled for balance so we will look into the data tonight. The tyres were a very close call today but we organised our run plan so that we were able to make the right decisions at the right time and it worked out. Now we have a strong position for the race tomorrow with both drivers.”