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GP Week : Issue 25
Ferrari rue mistakes FELIPE Massa may have won the European Grand Prix, but his Ferrari team was left to ponder a number of mistakes that could have cost Massa victory and, through a driver error from Kimi Raikkonen, left a member of the team injured. Ferrari Sporting Director Stefano Domenicalli confirmed to journalists in Valencia that the pit-lane incident in which the reigning world champion attempted to leave the pits while his fuel hose was still attached was caused by Raikkonen driving away before he had been signalled to do so. In the confusion, the fuel man was knocked to the ground and picked up a fractured toe. “He’s alright,”said Domenicalli of the mechanic. “He had a little fracture of his toe. I spoke to him and he is very happy that we won. He said, ‘I’m very sorry,’but it was not his fault and I think that shows the people of Ferrari, the way they behave and their professionality (sic) that they put in every day. We should be very proud of the guys working for this team.” While admitting that Raikkonen had driven off while the red light was still showing on Ferrari’s high- tech ‘traffic light’ release system, Domenicalli refused to berate his driver, who would later retire from the race with Ferrari’s second blown engine in as many races. “He is the world champion, we are a team and we will support everyone in the team. He is in a difficult moment but the team must stick together.” Race winner Felipe Massa was investigated by the race stewards for being released from his second and final pitstop at an unsafe moment, as he almost collided with the Force India of Adrian Sutil at the pit exit. Just 24 hours previously the same stewards had handed a drive-through penalty to Karun Chandhok for a similar faux-pas in the main GP2 race. Massa, however, escaped either punishment, and instead Ferrari was handed a €10,000 fine and a reprimand. Toyota strengthens position in title battle THE Panasonic Toyota Racing team plucked a superb result from a disappointing few days of preparation in Valencia. Clever strategy and some hard racing from Jarno Trulli saw him make up two positions from his seventh place grid slot to finish fifth, while Timo Glock raced what he described as one of the toughest afternoons of his career to take seventh position from a lowly 13th on the grid. “I pushed very hard when I needed to 30 while paying attention to taking care of my tyres and my brakes throughout,” said Trulli. “This shows how good we are getting and how nice it is to race with a competitive car every weekend. The team is still pushing with the development work so I’m confident that we can maintain the form in the coming races and keep the points coming.” “That was one of my hardest races ever because I have had a bad cold for the last two days,”said Glock. “It was tough in the middle of the race and in the last 10 laps I pushed as hard as I could to stay concentrated. Considering our qualifying and my condition, I am happy.” “This has turned into one of those good weekends,”confirmed Tadashi “George” Yamashima, Toyota’s Team Principal. “After qualifying, everybody was a bit disappointed but today went much better due to excellent teamwork. Now we will push to keep these results coming, with a particular eye on the Japanese Grand Prix later in the season.”