Jarno Trulli cut a rueful figure after the British Grand Prix, admitting that he had harboured hopes of at least a strong points finish from a solid starting position, at best a possible podium to banish ghosts of Silverstone past.
Instead, the Italian veteran had to settle for a below-par seventh place, a result that belied both the recovery that his Toyota team had shown since its Monaco nightmare and the new parts introduced to the TF109 for the event.
"The qualifying performance was definitely a very encouraging sign, as this continued our strong form from Turkey," he confirmed, "I was in the top four in all three sessions and only a tenth of a second from the fastest time in Q2, which is usually when the fastest times of the whole weekend are set. The car felt really good and I almost got third place, although I was happy enough with fourth. That was definitely a very positive sign, it is just a pity the race didn't live up to our expectations.
"From fourth place, I thought we had a chance to fight for the podium - and, certainly, we expected a strong points finish because I was on a very competitive fuel load. That all changed at the start though and, after that, the best we could achieve was seventh place."
The Toyota's slow getaway compromised more than just its own pilot's chances - Jenson Button was caught up behind Trulli and spent the opening laps outside the points - but the Italian insists that it was more than just sluggishness on his part.
"We had a launch problem, so the car didn't get off the line as fast as normal," he claimed, "A couple of cars passed me immediately, [but] I fought hard into the first corner and managed to hold on to seventh place, even though a few cars behind me had more momentum from the start. It's always a bit hectic in the first corner at Silverstone but I held firm.
"[After that], I didn't have the same feeling I had in qualifying. The car was sliding around a bit and I think this was due to the set-up we chose on Saturday. It worked great in qualifying, but the weather on race day was a little cooler than I expected, so I was having some issues getting the tyres working properly. I pushed as hard as possible, but the top six was just out of reach."
After a rare two weekend break in the schedule, the F1 circus heads for the Nurburgring, not far from Toyota's Cologne base, and Trulli admits that he is keen to turn in a better performance than he managed at Silverstone.
"Although I am Italian, so my home grand prix is always Monza, as part of the Toyota team, I have a few other 'second home' races, and Germany is one of them," he explained, "The Nürburgring is really close to the factory, so it's a special race for a lot of the guys in the team - including Timo - and we really want to do well there. It's nice when we can see our fans and colleagues from the factory in the grandstands and that makes us even more determined to deliver.
"As with most races this year we should have a few new items on the car at the Nürburgring, which are expected to bring improved performance, but the weather at the Nürburgring is always a question mark. Even though one of my best races at the track was in the wet, I hope it stays dry for the race this year - but it's difficult to predict."