Jarno Trulli has dubbed his sixth place finish in the United States Grand Prix as being 'like a victory' after a battling performance that he claims was more than he expected from both himself and the Toyota car.

The Italian has always gone well at Indianapolis and was surprised to merely qualify inside the top ten following a difficult start to the weekend that was fraught with a lack of grip.

However, a lengthy first stint was crucial to Trulli's result in a race spent effectively battling against Mark Webber for the last few points, but not always alongside each other as the different fuel strategies played out.

Nonetheless, despite his expectations, Trulli emerged from the pit lane at the end of his second stop ahead of the Red Bull and after a few physical battles over the ensuing lap, he managed to maintain the place to the finish for three points, the team's best result of the season.

"It is incredible - I can't believe I have finished in the points today," he beamed. "Despite all the effort we put in I thought it would be hard to get in the points but the team has done an incredible job. We haven't got anything wrong and we got sixth which for us is like a victory today.

"It is an unexpected result to be honest because before the race I never expected such a good performance from me or from the car so I am really pleased. Mentally it was a very hard race because I was on the limit for the whole race. I was fighting with Webber and I did not think I would come out ahead but in the end I managed it.

"It took a lot of fight. I really enjoyed it but after a very good manoeuvre when I overtook him following the second pit stop I thought I was going to lose the position. When I finished the race I asked more than once 'are you sure I finished sixth?' because I couldn't believe it! In the last four races we have had a few problems but this shows when we get it right we can battle for points."

It was not all joy for Toyota though after Ralf Schumacher's race came to an abrupt end at the start of the race when he out-braked himself into the first bend and piled into the side of David Coulthard, much to his frustration.

"That was a disappointing way to end my race after a pretty good qualifying. Obviously going into the first corner it was very crowded and everyone is on cold tyres. Going into the first corner I braked quite calmly but my tyres locked a bit.

"David came around from the outside and we crashed into each other. I think it was a racing incident. It is disappointing but these things can happen easily in that kind of situation at the start of a race when everyone is trying to gain positions. It is unfortunate and a bit unlucky for us because we could have had a good race."

 

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