Panis Optimistic after Promising Qualifying

Toyota's Olivier Panis is optimistic ahead of tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix following a promising qualifying performance.

Panis Optimistic after Promising Qualifying

Toyota's Olivier Panis is optimistic ahead of tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix following a promising qualifying performance.

The Frenchman, retiring at the end of the season, will start the race from eighth place after finishing less than a second off the pole position time.

"I am quite happy to be eighth on the grid for tomorrow's race," said Panis. "With all three cars around the top ten in yesterday's free practice, we started the race weekend in a competitive way. The car has been looking consistent, although I had some trouble this morning with corner entry oversteer.

"We were unable to fix the problem immediately, but after the session I sat down with my engineers and checked the data. The changes we made to the car worked well for qualifying and I would like to say well done to everyone. Considering where we were this morning and where we are now, we have improved a lot. I am confident we can push hard in the race tomorrow."

Panis' teammate Ricardo Zonta, on the other hand, was disappointed after not performing as strongly as he had expected following a promising showing in practice. The Brazilian driver posted the 14th quickest time of the day, but is still confident of moving up the field.

"I do not think that final result does justice to our performance so far this weekend," said Zonta. "The grip level was much lower in qualifying compared to this morning's practice sessions. I made a small mistake at the hairpin when I locked the front wheels, but I lost a lot of time in the final sector.

"I am not starting as high up the grid as I expected, but we have been quite competitive in the practice sessions, running regularly inside of the top ten, so I hope our race preparations will pay off. I have some work to do in the early stages of the race to make my way up through the field."

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