Jarno Trulli has said that he is even more confident that Toyota can finish in fourth place in the F1 constructors' championship after the team again brought both cars home in the points in the inaugural European Grand Prix on the streets of Valencia.
After a double score in Hungary, Toyota arrived in Spain optimistic that it could begin to pull away from midfield rivals Renault, Red Bull and Williams, but Trulli's weekend appeared to be taking a turn for the worse when he failed to get many laps under his belt in third practice on Saturday morning, leaving him unable to define set-up changes made after the opening day.
"The weekend didn't start well for me because I wasn't happy with the car balance on the Friday," he told the team's website, "You always have to be extra careful on a street circuit, especially a new one, because there is a lot of dust and a lack of grip on the first day.
"I learn circuits quickly, so that was no problem, but the track does come to you even more when the tyre rubber goes down. You notice that a lot in Monaco and I was expecting the same so I changed quite a bit for Saturday morning, but didn't have the opportunity to evaluate the car in final practice because of an issue with the gearbox oil pump.
"We replaced it twice and then it broke down again, so we changed some of the ancillaries as well. It basically meant that I missed out on Saturday morning free practice and went into qualifying blind."
Despite the setback, however, Trulli was able to run quickly in the three-phase timed session, posting the fastest time of all at the end of the 20-minute opening segment and then lapping just a tenth off the pace in Q2, when teams are widely acknowledged to set their quickest times of the weekend.
"It was a nice surprise because I didn't know what to expect," the Italian veteran admitted, "If I'm honest, I found the car much easier on lighter fuel than with a heavier load, especially after missing third practice. Because I'd changed the set-up completely and not tried it at all on Saturday morning, in qualifying I was just driving with what I had."
Buoyed by the performance to that point, Toyota was hoping that it may be able to push Trulli onto the first couple of rows for a circuit where overtaking was expected to be difficult, but things didn't quite go to plan.
"I managed to get it right in Q1, repeated the lap in Q2 and did a decent lap at the start of Q3, but then, on my final run, I was three tenths up in the first sector but made a mistake and aborted the lap," he admitted, "The potential was maybe fifth but, in the circumstances, I couldn't be too unhappy."