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GP Week : Issue 16
Toro Rosso came to France on the back of having scored points on both previous outings with the STR3, and with Sebastien Bourdais happy to be making his French GP debut. Things went in favour of Vettel to begin with, as the young German took eighth in the morning and improved to fifth in the afternoon. Bourdais meanwhile struggled, getting off on the wrong foot with regard to balance. 16th and 13th were scant reward for him, but he acknowledged he’d been on a different program to Vettel. Qualifying was a success for the team as for the first time in 2008 they got both drivers into Q2. Vettel took 13th but was promoted to 12th ahead of Hamilton, while Bourdais took 14th to sandwich the McLarens. Bourdais had a bit of a nightmare in the race. Nakajima got ahead of him early on and on heavier fuel compromised the Frenchman’s strategy. Vettel however was “proud” to take 12th. He may not have taken points, but had raced well to keep ahead of Heidfeld’s BMW. With the team and the TF108 donning black armbands in memory of Ove Andresson, Toyota set about a weekend in which they hoped results would pay homage to the man who had overseen the team’s birth in F1. Jarno Trulli was happy with his tyres and set-up on Friday, taking seventh and 12th positions, but Glock was hating his tyres which were failing to work for him. He struggled to 10th and 15th. Qualifying then was a huge boost. Trulli nailed fifth and was promoted to fourth with Kovalainen’s penalty, while Glock took 10th on the day but eighth on the grid thanks to the McLaren penalties. The race saw Toyota bring home the result it had craved to pay homage to Andersson with Trulli fighting from the first lap to the last to record the team’s first podium since Australia 2006. His battle with Heikki Kovalainen was a go- kart style fight to the finish and highly entertaining. Glock meanwhile had a difficult day and struggled with graining and understeer to finish 11th. Mark Webber began the weekend mystified by Red Bull’s lack of pace. He had wound up 13th and 16th to be hugely disappointed after the first day of running. “It’s a good thing it wasn’t Saturday today,” was as happy as he could be. DC on the flip side wasn’t overly perturbed. It had been a pretty normal Friday in his opinion, and 12th and 10th were his rewards. Come qualifying it all turned around. Webber was held up by Kovalainen but took eighth while DC took ninth. After the penalties were worked through they’d start sixth and seventh. The start didn’t work out well for Coulthard as he lost three places from the off. With the cooler conditions, the prime tyre wasn’t as good as he had expected but he fought back to sit just out of the points in ninth. Mark Webber on the other hand came home with yet another points haul. Starting sixth, that’s exactly where he finished, under pressure from first Fernando Alonso and then Nelson Piquet. PANASONIC TOYOTA RACING 11 12 SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO 14 15 RED BULL RACING 9 10 32