Day one of the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix ended with Toyota third driver Ricardo Zonta on top, the Brazilian lapping the newly built Istanbul circuit 0.613secs clear of McLaren's Pedro de la Rosa.

"It's great to have Ricardo back on top of the timesheets. We were a bit surprised by the lap because it was not on a brand new tyre, so that was very good," said Toyota chief race engineer Dieter Gass. "It was a difficult day today to get everything sorted for tyre choice, because there was a lot of traffic, so we really have to analyse the data to understand the behaviour. There's still some work to do on the car balance, but that was a trouble-free day and our performance looks promising."

"There was a lot of traffic and yellow flags but I eventually found a clear lap at the end of the session," explained Zonta. "The lap time is a lot quicker than we expected because the track surface is better. Of course the grip improved throughout the day, and we also saw some tyre graining, but we have plenty of data to look at tonight. It's looking good so far."

Meanwhile, race drivers Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher ended Friday in a far less spectacular 9th and 16th, but having enjoyed their first laps around the new circuit.

"This is an interesting circuit, and very different from what we usually see," said Trulli. "There are some ups and downs and turn 8 is a challenging corner. We made it through the two sessions without problems so that was a decent day of practice for us. I lost a bit of ground in the morning and early in the afternoon because I was struggling to get the tyres working properly. But as soon as we changed them the balance came in and I was able to do a more consistent long run."

"The Istanbul Park is a challenging track, the layout is unusual and something which we haven't seen in a long time in F1. It's a very smooth circuit with very few bumps and lots of run-off areas so it's very safe," added Ralf. "For set-up we need to compromise for the low speed corners while maintaining speed along the straight. Tyre choice will be crucial here but the car feels okay and Ricardo's lap time shows that we should be competitive here and aim for another strong result."

 

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