Timo Glock has admitted that he is still finding it hard to take in his second-place finish in the Hungarian Grand Prix at the weekend - a result that looks to have secured his Toyota seat in Formula 1 for 2009 and likely also 2010.

Glock has had a solid if unspectacular first half to the 2008 campaign - his first full season in the top flight, following the four races in which he competed for Jordan Grand Prix back in 2004. He has qualified inside the top ten on four occasions, but has generally been outpaced by experienced team-mate Jarno Trulli, and although figuring up the points in a number of races, until the Hungaroring had just a single top eight finish to his name - fourth place in Canada back in June.

There have also been a brace of high-speed shunts - in the season curtain-raiser Down Under in Melbourne, and most recently in front of his home supporters when his rear suspension collapsed at Hockenheim just over a fortnight ago. In bouncing back quite literally to qualify a career-high fifth in Budapest, he answered all of the doubters who have been questioning his place at the pinnacle of world motorsport with considerable aplomb.

"After the crash in Hockenheim it is just a perfect answer," the reigning GP2 Series Champion enthused. "I want to make the news for race results, not accidents!

"We had pretty good race pace in Hockenheim and we knew the car would be good in Budapest, and we just kept that speed. The TF108 felt really good from the beginning - just like I needed it - and we didn't have to make any big changes. When we keep it in that window through the weekend, we should be well in the points.

"I don't like an understeering car, and that was a problem sometimes this season. In Hockenheim and Budapest the feel of the car was much more in my direction and better suited my driving style. I could just put the car where I wanted to in a corner, and that was the case in both qualifying and the race.

"Although qualifying was good, I felt I might even have been a couple of places further up the grid. I was second-fastest to [Felipe] Massa's Ferrari with low fuel in Q2, which showed that we had a really, really good car with the prime tyres, but I struggled a bit in Q3 to get the tyres up to temperature.

"I actually set my best time on used tyres as I couldn't get the tyres up to temperature for the first flying lap of my last run, because [Robert] Kubica was a bit slower on the 'out' lap compared to me and I had to slow down. I lost a bit of performance on the flying lap, but in the end I was happy with fifth - even though I thought I could have gone quicker than Robert."

That notwithstanding, a strong start from the cleaner side of the grid saw Glock jump his BMW-Sauber adversary - something he later acknowledged as having been of critical importance, given the Pole's poor race pace and the difficulty of passing around the tight and twisty Hungaroring.

From there the German went on to pull away from his pursuers - former F1 World Champions Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen amongst them - with comparative ease, proving his qualifying form had been in no way artificial by staying out until lap 20 before making his first pit-stop and generally keeping pace with eventual race-winner Heikki Kovalainen throughout, despite suffering with a bout of food poisoning picked up during the recent Jerez test that meant he could barely drink anything over the course of the 70 laps.

The only flies in his ointment came with a tardy pit-stop that cost him several seconds and when he found himself under attack from the flying Raikkonen over the closing stages of the grand prix, with the Finn setting fastest lap after fastest lap as he relentlessly hunted his quarry down. After flawlessly withstanding the pressure for a handful of laps, Raikkonen backing off in the wake of team-mate Massa's retirement secured Glock's runner-up spot - a result that he confessed before the race he could never even have dreamed of.

"I've had to improve my starts," the man from Lindenfels related, "because my reaction times were not perfect in the first couple of races. That was the key and this time the start was mega, I could out-accelerate Robert and I had a good first corner.

"After that I could go at a good race pace, especially on the prime tyres. It was just perfect until the last stint with soft tyres, which was a bit tricky. We knew with the soft tyres we would be struggling; especially for me the soft tyre was just really difficult to get a feeling for.

"When I saw nine seconds to Kimi I thought 'okay, I can keep a little bit better pace like 1m 21.8s and 1m 21.9s and maybe I can hold him off', but I couldn't do 1m 21s; I was doing 1m 22.2s or mid-1m 22s, and it was just too slow for Kimi and he caught me up big-time.

"The team told me he was half a second a lap quicker, so I tried to push more and more but I just destroyed the tyres every time. That meant I had to really focus on the tyres, just keep it cool and make sure I didn't make any mistakes.

"I had reasonable pace, though, and I knew from GP2 - when I had a really fast car but was stuck in the middle of the field - how hard it is to overtake in Budapest. It is even tougher in F1. When he was close to me I could see in the mirror that for two laps he couldn't catch up more, so I thought 'okay, no mistakes and keep it on the track and that's it'.

"I almost had to pinch myself when I saw Massa's engine failing with three laps to go and I knew that I was in second position. I didn't expect a podium. I think the circumstances with Felipe helped out a bit - and with Lewis [Hamilton] as well - but you have to be there at that moment and you have to have the speed as well."

That Glock certainly was, and German news agency SID has claimed that as a 'reward' for his superb Hungarian showing, Toyota will take up the 2009 option they have on their young charge as part of the 'multi-year' contract he signed with the big-budget Japanese outfit at the end of last year.

"The whole weekend, I was faster than my team-mate," he underlined. "The result shows that if the car is right, I can show my potential. It was just a perfect weekend, completely unexpected from my side. I didn't expect to be on the podium in this part of my first full Formula 1 season. It is just unbelievable.

"In the end P2 is just perfect for the team and really important for the constructors' championship, [but] no one should think that we will now be on the podium all the time. The TF108 has shown good performance in hot conditions, and we were always confident for Budapest.

"The grid is very competitive, and at one circuit or in certain conditions Red Bull is stronger, then the next race it is us, and so it's quite up-and-down and difficult to predict. Our problem has been consistency, but I hope we can start to turn that around starting now."


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