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.