Had he been harbouring any world championship ambitions heading into the opening round of the new Formula One season, Jarno Trulli was forced to revise them even as the catalogue of misfortune surrounding his Toyota team unfolded.

Reflecting on a weekend 'of highs and lows', the Italian veteran admitted to having been satisfied with both the performance and effort shown by Toyota, but could not escape the fact that he - and the rest of the field - had been shown the way by Brawn GP duo Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello in the sessions that counted.

Trulli and team-mate Timo Glock had been among the pacesetters during the winter, although the Italian admitted that it is often hard to compare like with like as teams go their own way on development programmes, and arrived in Melbourne expecting to be towards the front of the field. Armed, like Brawn and Williams, with a diffuser arrangement that enflamed its rivals, Toyota was indeed on the mark, vying with Button, Barrichello, Kazuki Nakajima and free practice pacesetter Nico Rosberg for the leading places, leaving Trulli disappointed that he then only qualified eighth on Saturday afternoon.

Worse was to come for both drivers, however, as the TF109's rear wing was deemed to be too flexible for the regulations, demoting Glock and Trulli to 19th and 20th respectively, and resulting in the pair opting to start from the Albert Park pit-lane.

From there, both underlined the car's potential by rising through the field to claim points finishes on Sunday - although Trulli was to be denied for a second time after it was adjudged that, after a grassy moment, he repassed Lewis Hamilton under caution, earning himself a 25-second penalty that not only dropped him out of the points, but also robbed him of a hard-earned podium finish hours after the race had finished.

Asked, before the stewards' verdict, whether he felt he could have achieved more had he started from row four as scheduled, Trulli admitted that he had had good and bad phases to his race, but suggested that the Brawns that finished 1-2 would have been out of reach regardless.

"Many things have happened this weekend, [so there's] plenty of emotion, some highs, some lows, and it's difficult to say if you're happy or not," he reflected, "At the moment, I'm not completely happy with myself because I could have done well but, on the other hand, if you look at the result, we have all done a great job after the big disappointment of [Saturday]].

"We proved that our car has nothing to do, in terms of competitiveness, [with] the little details which we have been disqualified for but, on the other hand, qualifying went pretty badly. It was the only time when the car felt pretty bad and I don't know why.

"On top of that, I've been struggling all weekend with brakes, so all I had to do today was completely change the brakes to a different material, different things - something I never ran with this weekend. With all the experience I have, I didn't think about it - I just went flat out from the pit-lane. [The car] was lacking at some stages of the race because I [only] gained a couple of positions because of crashes. But, on the other hand, I don't know if the TV showed them, but I did some great moves and overtaking at the beginning of the race, in the middle of the race, as well as at the end of the race.

"I was a little bit unlucky because, at one stage, I fell behind Fisichella, who was massively slower than me - something like one-and-a-half seconds - and I spent a lot of time, a lot of laps, behind him, which cost me so much track time. So I don't know if I could have finished higher but, after yesterday's disappointment, it's a great way to hit back."

Asked then whether he felt his performance hinted at a possible championship challenge in 2009, Trulli gave his biggest nod towards the apparent superiority of the Brawns.

"It's difficult to say because, obviously, I haven't been close enough to these guys who, at the moment, look like they are the men to beat," he admitted, "All I can say is that, since this winter, we were feeling pretty good.

"From the first time I tested the car, I gave a positive comment straight away. This result is a lot down to the team, but I'm proud of what is happening, because I think I've been giving a lot in terms of experience, in terms of direction. I'm getting what I want, and the team is doing a good job with both Timo and me. The atmosphere is great, so it's a big thanks to everyone because we have seen that the machine has a major impact on the results, no matter who is driving it. But, from being third to saying that we can fight for the championship... that's a bit too early to say."