Jarno Trulli put every bit of his twelve years' Formula 1 experience to good use to snatch an unexpected seventh spot on the starting grid for this weekend's European Grand Prix in Valencia, as team-mate Timo Glock confessed to being baffled at his sudden loss of form.
Doubtless boosted by his Hungaroring podium finish of three weeks ago, the young German has generally held the upper hand over his Italian team-mate during the course of the weekend – the sport's first around the all-new, harbour-side Juan Carlos I Marina circuit in the Spanish city – with the latter suffering from myriad problems on his Toyota from the onset of practice.
It was Trulli, however, who pulled it out of the bag when it mattered most, overcoming a complete lack of running in the final free practice session on Saturday morning to sensationally top the times with a late effort in Q1, place fourth-quickest in Q2 and ultimately wind up on the fourth row of the grid.
“After our difficult practice yesterday, we completely changed my set-up for today,” the 34-year-old explained. “Then we had a gearbox oil pump problem this morning that meant I could not try it out.
“In a way that meant I was driving blind this afternoon, but I used my experience, I concentrated very hard and I made it through into Q3. I made a mistake on my last run, but I am still very happy with what we achieved today.
“I'm also delighted with the way the car is developing, and the fact that we can always fight for the top ten and score points. That is again our target tomorrow. It's important and realistic and it will be an interesting race. Here, more than anywhere, anything can happen and it should be a great event.”
“I don't know what went wrong,” confessed Glock, who will begin the race from 13th place after failing to make it beyond Q2 and antagonising a number of other drivers en route
by getting in their way. “I just didn't get the lap together in the second session and that was that. We definitely had the chance to be higher, in the top ten, but it was a difficult qualifying in the end.
“For me the prime tyres seemed to work better, but I struggled to get temperature into the tyres in the first sector of my last lap in Q2. It was just not my day today. I had a heavy cold overnight and didn't feel particularly well, but no excuses.
“I think the car was good enough, but it just didn't work out. Of course we will do our best to make up positions tomorrow. There could be safety car periods, so we will aim to make the most of our freedom with the strategy.”