There were many reasons, not least that the team’s first podium since the start of 2006 came just over a week after the tragic death of Ove Andersson.
Andersson was the driving force behind Toyota in world rallying and then Formula 1, and Trulli is one of the those drivers who, on his day, is brilliant. Today was one of those days.
His eyes were gleaming at the end of a superb wheel-to-wheel battle with Heikki Kovalainen. ‘It was like racing karts, racing side by side,’ said Trulli. ‘I haven’t done that for a very long time and I wish the race could have gone on.’
Trulli said his first message to the pits on his slowing down lap was to prepare an Italian tricolour, which he had been carrying in his bag ever since his last podium – way back in 2005.
Trulli wanted to wave it and encourage the Italian fans in their support, not just for the Italian Ferrari/Trulli podium but also for the Italy/Spain match in the Euro2008 quarter final. ‘I am very happy,’ said Trulli. ‘This is good for Italy, good for me and good for Toyota. We all needed this result.’
Toyota had opened a book of condolences for Andersson in their motor home. One of the first entries said simply: ‘A lovely man. Always smiling, always good company – always a racer.’
Ove would have approved of his driver’s race today. The smiles at Toyota were a welcome counterpoint to the grim faces at McLaren.