Panis fourth despite poor tyre choice

Toyota's Olivier Panis believes that first qualifying for the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours was a missed opportunity to excel, even though he ended the session fourth quickest

Panis fourth despite poor tyre choice

The Frenchman was one of the last of the Michelin runners to go out in the drying conditions, but he decided to err on the side of caution and used intermediate tyres rather than risk using dry weather rubber.

"We decided to go out on intermediate tyres given the changing wet-dry conditions throughout the session, but I realised by the first corner that we should have opted for slicks," he said. "It was very difficult to predict, though, because the track improved so quickly. All in all, we did a very good job for the first day and we are in a strong position for tomorrow's qualifying. It is important for me to perform well in front of my home crowd and I am pleased with the lap today."

His team-mate Cristiano da Matta was ninth fastest, having run three slots ahead of him.

He said: "In the circumstances, my lap was not too bad, and I think that given my limited knowledge of this track, I got the best out of the car."

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