Austrian GP: Honda Saturday qualifying notes

FOURTH ROW SPOT FOR HONDA IN AUSTRIA Button and Villeneuve qualify seventh and 12th in Spielberg Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's Jenson Button qualified in seventh place for tomorrow's grid of the Austrian Grand Prix to start the race from the fourth...

FOURTH ROW SPOT FOR HONDA IN AUSTRIA
Button and Villeneuve qualify seventh and 12th in Spielberg

Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's Jenson Button qualified in seventh place for tomorrow's grid of the Austrian Grand Prix to start the race from the fourth row while Jacques Villeneuve qualified in 12th position on the sixth row.

The track and air temperature both registered a cool nine degrees at the start of the first 45 minute practice session this morning, gradually rising to 27 (track) and 15 (air) by the end of the second session at 1100 hours. Villeneuve and Button completed 81 laps between them and finished the morning sixth and 14th respectively.

The weather continued to improve and the conditions remained clear and dry (track 32 degrees, air 19 degrees) as the final qualifying session got underway at the A1-Ring. Ralf Schumacher (Williams) failed to set a time in yesterday's session so he was the first man out on track today. Jos Verstappen, who went out fourth, ran wide and failed to set a time so the Minardi driver will start from the back of the grid.

Button and Villeneuve took to the track 16th and 17th in the running order for their one flying lap as the drivers go out in reverse of yesterday's times. The track temperature had dropped four degrees to 28 as Button put in a quick lap, going well in the first and second sectors but running wide at the last corner, setting a time of 1m09.935s and ending up seventh for the start of tomorrow's race. Villeneuve made a mistake in the first sector where he lost a lot of time and the Canadian recorded a lap of 1m10.618s, finally qualifying in 12th place after all the runs were completed.

Ferrari's Michael Schumacher snatched pole position and will be joined on the front row by Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren). Third and fourth place were taken by Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) and Sauber's Nick Heidfeld while Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) and Jarno Trulli (Renault) will line up fifth and sixth on the grid.

Shuhei Nakamoto - Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:

"Although we expected higher grid positions we have shown that the car has been competitive all weekend so I'm confident we can score points tomorrow."

Jenson Button Position: 7th

"I'm quite satisfied with my lap because I had too much oversteer practically all the way round. It wasn't a very tidy lap because I was on the verge of being out of control. There wasn't enough grip out there but I was giving it maximum attack and pushing as hard as I could - a little bit too much in the last corner because I ran wide.

"We've been struggling to find the right balance all weekend and qualifying showed we're not quite on top of that. Having said that, we've been very competitive so far, so I'm optimistic. Seventh on the grid gives us a lot of chances, and because there have been so many surprises today, a podium is not beyond the realms of possibility. Before I make any predictions though, I'd better wait and see what happens in the race!"

Jacques Villeneuve Position: 12th

"The car felt amazing on old tyres this morning but we couldn't get the best out of new tyres this afternoon. I tried to compensate but I drove too aggressively and made a big mistake in turn one, which basically cost me the lap. 12th isn't too bad because a mistake like that could have cost more. We should be OK for the race because the car is very quick in race trim.

"A lot of people were trying too hard today and I was one of them. If you do a slow out-lap to look after the tyres you can end up going too slow and you don't get enough heat in the tyres. It's a difficult balance and the one's who got it wrong are the one's who made mistakes.

"This is a good track for overtaking and our grid position doesn't reflect our actual speed, so it should be a fun race. It's always a very interesting first lap here and the people who survive that end up having a fun race. I hope I'm one of them."

-honda-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Minardi