Speed Looking To Rebound
June 11, 2007 | 2:28 P.M. EST
Speed enjoys the North American F1 double-header because of all the support he gets from the fans. Unfortunately for Speed and his fans, part one of his two Grand Prix races on this continent ended early with a crash in Canada.
Two days earlier, on the opening day of practice, Friday, June 8, Speed clashed with Mark Webber.
"The track was very slippery today," Speed said after posting the 16th fastest time of the day Friday, "but that’s always the case here and on top of that. We are running very low downforce, so I think that when the track develops some grip it will benefit us."
During the last few laps of Friday’s practice, Speed had a run-in with Webber, who drives for sister team Red Bull Racing. They were running closely during the session, and tempers were getting a little edgy.
It ended with Webber, who finally passed Speed, slowing down, which resulted in Speed’s Toro Rosso ramming the rear of Webber’s Red Bull.
"At the end of the session, for some reason I don’t understand, Mark did the most strange thing I have seen since I’ve been in F1," Speed said. "I haven’t been brake tested like that since my karting days. I’ll be interested to see what Mark has to say about that!"
Webber said Speed had been acting up out on the track, as well. Race officials called both in for a hearing and gave Webber a reprimand.
In qualifying on the next day, Speed turned in his best performance in 2007. For the first time this season, both he and Toro Rosso teammate Tonio Liuzzi made the cut in the first qualifying session and made in into “Q2.”
Liuzzi ended up setting the 12th-best time while Speed lined up 16th in Montreal.
"That was my first time through into Q2 this year," Speed said. "I think I should have done that a few times this season, but I always seemed to be unlucky with traffic. Today I didn’t have any traffic, which is why I got through.
"The car felt good in the first part of the session, but then as the track rubbered in I picked up quite a lot of understeer, which we were not able to fix by adjusting the wing. In the race, I hope for some points, but that might require a few people to break down."
There were few cars that suffered mechanical failures in the race. But accidents eliminated a number of cars, and Speed became the first member of that group when he collided with Alex Wurz at the hairpin on Lap 9.
Wurz suffered some rear wing damage but went on to finish third. Speed’s day was over.
While his race in Canada didn’t go well, Speed is enjoying his time in North America because of the support from his fans.
"Last year when I was Indy, I had a huge reception," he said, "and so far since I have been here in Canada, I have had huge reception. I definitely feel very welcome here in North America. I am looking forward to Indy."