Jarno Trulli has admitted that whilst he was pleased to be back in the points again in the Japanese Grand Prix following a barren three-race run, he was nevertheless disappointed not to have been able to deliver Toyota a rostrum finish in its home outing.
After qualifying seventh, the experienced Italian made a strong start and stayed out of trouble at the first corner to gain three spots from the 'off' – and by dint of running the longest opening stint of any of the front pack, he briefly led for three laps in the run-up to his first pit visit, to the clear delight of the throngs of Japanese fans packing the Fuji Speedway's grandstands.
Though he would hit the front again before his second stop 29 laps later, Trulli ultimately had to give best to the flying Nelsinho Piquet in the Renault, slipping back to fifth at the chequered flag – albeit in so doing pulling back level again with Scuderia Toro Rosso rival Sebastian Vettel for eighth spot in the drivers' standings.
“We have to be happy with that,” the 34-year-old reflected, “but honestly I wanted to give a bit more both to the team and to all the Japanese fans who cheered us on. I was really hoping that we could make the podium, but fifth place was all that we could have done.
“I gave everything from start to finish, but we could not do any better. We've been competitive all weekend and the car was good again in the race, but the lower temperatures didn't help us. That meant that the car was slightly unbalanced.
“I tried to keep Piquet's Renault behind me, but they were very quick. Still, I'm glad to come away with some points to give the home support something to cheer.”
There was less joy, however, for Trulli's team-mate Timo Glock, who was forced out of contention whilst similarly in a points-scoring position in eighth just six laps into the action, after his seat broke when he went off-piste following David Coulthard's first corner shunt in the Red Bull Racing.
“That was a short afternoon's work for me,” the young German rued, having failed to add to his four points-scoring finishes of 2008 to-date. “I made a good start, but I lost ground when everyone went wide at the first corner and I was pushed off the track.
“Then, following David Coulthard's accident, it felt like I drove over some of the debris. After that the car felt strange and in the end I lost [it] on the kerb at the exit of turn six. I went over the grass and the car launched through the air.