Da Matta thrilled to lead a grand prix

Cristiano da Matta said that it was a special feeling to lead a Formula 1 race for the first time, after canny pit strategy from Toyota allowed him to lead 18 laps of the British Grand Prix

Da Matta thrilled to lead a grand prix

The Brazilian is no stranger to running up front, having dominated the Champ Car World Series last year, but this was the first time he had done so in an F1 race, and Da Matta was able to comfortably fend off the hard-charging Kimi Raikkonen. He eventually came home seventh, only his second points finish of the year.

"Seventh place is a nice reward for our performance this weekend," said da Matta. "We had a good strategy and good pit stops, using the first safety car period to come in for fuel, which put me in the lead at that time and Olivier [Panis, team-mate] second. I'm very used to leading races, but this was the first time in F1, which is a special feeling. I knew it wouldn't last long, so I enjoyed it while I could and pushed hard to build up as much time advantage as possible."

For team principal Over Andersson, it was an almost unbelievable feeling to see Toyota leading a grand prix in just its second season of F1. " We actually led the race for some 18 laps - almost one-third race distance - and it was incredible to see Toyota in first and second for a while early in the grand prix," he said.

"It is fantastic to finish seventh and to get another two points, taking our tally to seven," he added. "This result is important for out progression in the championship and encouragingly reflects where we are in terms of our competitiveness at the moment."

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