Toyota emerged from the nightmare of Monaco to produce two scoring finishes in the Turkish Grand Prix, and Jarno Trulli is optimistic that the return to form can be carried through the heart of the season.
From annexing the front of the grid in Bahrain, it took just two rounds for Toyota to complete the transformation to also-ran, being confined to the last row in Monaco, and causing observers to launch the usual criticism that the Cologne-based team is unable to build on a solid start to the season. Istanbul, however, provided Toyota with a retort, as Trulli qualified fifth and finished fourth, while team-mate Timo Glock battled up from a disappointing 13th on the grid to claim the final point.
"We are back on track, and it was good to be fighting at the front of the grid again," the Italian enthused, "To return to the top five immediately after what happened in Monaco is great and it is a credit to the team, who have worked really hard to improve our performance.
"Monaco is a one-off race and we felt sure our problems would not be repeated in Turkey, but we didn't leave this to chance. We had a few upgrades, with changes to the front and rear wings, which brought additional performance. Overall, we improved in many areas, including the start - which was fantastic for me on Sunday. Timo and I have worked together with the team to understand where we can improve and the result we had in Turkey was a nice reward for our effort.
"Normally, you have a good idea if you are competitive straight away and, in Turkey, I was pretty happy from the beginning. We were clearly competitive and I knew immediately we would be in the top ten. We continued to get more performance out of the car in practice and, in qualifying, we were not far from pole position."
Although, having made up two spots off the line, locking brakes made it impossible to defend against Mark Webber, Trulli quickly got into a rhythm that allowed him to hold on to fourth despite a stiff challenge from Nico Rosberg.
"I was ahead, but he was pitting two laps later than me so took the position at the first stops," the veteran noted, "But I didn't give up. I knew I had to stay as close as possible to him during the second stint because we had more fuel on board. I was trying to make every lap like a qualifying lap and I stayed close so, when we both made our final pit-stops, I got out ahead. A lot of the credit has to go to the pit crew who did an amazing job to help me finish fourth."
The six points taken away from Turkey allowed Toyota to maintain third place in the constructors championship, and added to the feeling of optimism.
"We were not far away from the fastest car - there is still a small gap which we will work to close, but we are moving in the right direction," Trulli commented, "It has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride but, right now, I believe we are definitely heading in the right direction.