Alex Yoong failed to qualify for the German Grand Prix after a difficult day at the Hockenheimring. The Malaysian had his progress slowed by a problem with a hydraulic connector in the second of the two practice sessions this morning, and then missed the 107% margin by less than two tenths of a second.
"It's been a hugely disappointing day, as this is not a circuit I expected qualifying to be an issue, especially after yesterday went so well," he said. "We were quick without even trying then on old tyres.
"Unfortunately, in the morning session today, we didn't get the chance to use new tyres because we had a hydraulic problem, so the first time I used new tyres was in the qualifying session.
"To be frank, I'm as puzzled as everyone else why we were so slow today. I'm obviously very disappointed at the moment, not just for myself, but for the whole team, who did a very good job and put in a lot of hard work."
Mark Webber felt he extracted close to the maximum possible performance from his car on his penultimate qualifying run to start twenty-first tomorrow. "We maximised everything we could today. It would have been nice to have completed that last run this afternoon, but the traffic meant there was no way we were going to improve," the Australian commented.
"It's the same for everybody, though - you get four runs in qualifying. On the positive side, the car ran very reliably, we put in a lot of laps, and the guys did a good job. This has proved to be a tough circuit for us, but now we'll just concentrate on our preparations for tomorrow's race."
Team principal Paul Stoddart added: "Today hasn't been the best of days for the Minardi team. It's disappointing to see Alex fail to qualify by such a slender margin. As is often observed, hindsight is a wonderful thing, but it seems clear that if Alex had been on the Prime tyre rather than the Option today, he would have qualified.
"His situation also wasn't helped when he lost valuable track time this morning with a technical problem. We'll just have to make the most of having only one car in the race tomorrow and hope that Mark can repeat his amazing performance in France here in Germany."