Justin Wilson's successful completion of a full race distance for Jaguar Racing Sunday in the United States Grand Prix has been rewarded with the British rookie's first Formula One World Championship point.

A steely drive to eighth place in testing conditions at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway allowed Wilson to score for the first time in his relatively short Grand Prix career and his fourth outing this season in the Jaguar R4.

Having run as high as third by lap 20 of the 73-lap race, Wilson's crucial points scoring finish keeps the Jaguar Racing squad in the thick of the fight for fifth overall in the Constructors Championship, not least as team-mate Mark Webber failed to score having fallen victim to the inclement track conditions.

Speaking following his strongest outing to-date Wilson remarked: "That was by no means an easy race and I was more than happy to see the chequered flag. The start of the race was fairly clean but as the conditions kept changing it became increasingly difficult to achieve good long runs. The team did a great job to support me and a combination of our race strategy and well-oiled pit stops certainly helped me secure eighth place. I am of course very pleased to have achieved my first Championship point here at Ford's home race and at this time in the calendar. It has been a tough few months for me but I knew that my luck would change at some point."

As the race commenced under ominous skies Wilson promoted himself up one place from his 16th grid placing before slotting in behind Webber, just four tenths of a second splitting the duo. It wasn't long before the heavens opened and the increasingly damp track started to test the skills of everyone running on dry tyres. The subsequent flurry of pit activity saw Wilson push up the order as his handling skills in the wet came to the fore, the 25-year-old keeping his R4 firmly on track on his 'dry' Michelins.

With the front-runners opting for a variety of tyre choices the Jaguar Racing squad chose to keep both drivers out longer than the rest of the field to gain a better understanding of the conditions. By lap 20 Wilson was up to a highly credible third, heading Toyota's Olivier Panis. Wilson then pitted for full wets, making a solitary stop to others two by this stage, rejoining on lap 22 in fourth place, dicing with pole winner and title hopeful Kimi Raikkonen. He was soon to be the sole Jaguar in the race as Webber spun out of the race and into retirement on lap 23.

The fluctuating weather at Indianapolis ultimately swung in the favour of the Bridgestone runners, Wilson losing track position to eventual race winner Michael Schumacher on lap 27. As the race powered into the second half Wilson found himself scrapping on the outskirts of the top ten, successfully keeping former World Champion Jacques Villeneuve at bay following his second pit stop while fighting to break back into the top ten.

As the track gradually dried out in the closing stages Wilson found himself back in the points, running comfortably in eighth and looking good for his first race finish for Jaguar. Taking nothing for granted though, Justin's performance was executed with precision, the Sheffield-born racer all too aware of the importance of points not only for his own future but that of Jaguar Racing's battle in the Constructors Championship. Having suffered mechanical issues in his three previous outings for the Milton Keynes based team, the combination of Wilson's cool cockpit performance and the reliability of his R4 was deservedly rewarded with eighth place and the rookie's first World Championship point.

Wilson reflected on his weekend's work: "My weekend overall has been a good learning curve for me and I am only too pleased to add to the points tally in our bid to fight for fifth in the Constructors Championship. It was unfortunate that we could not have scored more but to be honest I was trying hard just to stay on track and to have secured a point is a real bonus."

 

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