Toyota's tyre gamble fails to pay off

Toyota saw its best-ever qualifying performance in Formula 1 fade away in the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis

Toyota's tyre gamble fails to pay off

Despite a fantastic start from third placed starter Olivier Panis, which put him second on the opening lap, he took on wet tyres at the wrong time and fell down the order, eventually spinning out of the race when running well down.

"My start was brilliant and I exited the first corner in second place," said Panis. "I think our original strategy would have put us in a strong position to get a good result today. We planned to stop on lap 19 for the first of our two scheduled stops, but it began to rain and we decided to change our approach. We risked running wet tyres, but unfortunately this turned out to be the wrong way to go.

"I was forced to pit for a nosecone change after another car hit me, but we were already way back. I stopped shortly afterwards when the car spun in the slippery conditions."

Team-mate Cristiano da Matta finished out of the points in ninth, but was delayed with a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane.

"I would sum up today's US Grand Prix as a character-building day for Panasonic Toyota Racing," said team principal Ove Andersson. "We took a risk when the rain started, but it didn't pay off. It is the first time we have been faced with such unpredictable and varied weather in a race and it is all part of our continued learning curve."

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