Best combined free practice for Honda so far; three Honda-powered cars in top six at Silverstone. Giancarlo Fisichella (DHL Jordan Honda) finished third fastest to head the Honda-powered foursome in today's free practice session for the British...
Best combined free practice for Honda so far; three Honda-powered cars in top six at Silverstone.
Giancarlo Fisichella (DHL Jordan Honda) finished third fastest to head the Honda-powered foursome in today's free practice session for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. His Jordan Honda team-mate Takuma Sato recorded the fifth fastest time, followed by Jacques Villeneuve (Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda) in sixth fastest position. Oliver Panis (B.A.R Honda) recorded the 14th fastest time overall.
Both sessions were characterised by wet and almost tropical conditions as the humidity level rose to 90% with an ambient high of 17 degrees celsius. The unusual weather presented a rare challenge to all teams in finding the most workable set-up packages, but the Honda-powered teams worked steadily to exploit the driveability of the Honda RA002E and chassis balance of the car and the Bridgestone tyres throughout both sessions to good effect.
On his way to setting the third fastest time overall Jordan Honda's Giancarlo Fisichella completed 31 laps of the 5.141km Silverstone circuit and set a fastest time of 1m33.434s, improving on his original best lap of the morning by almost two seconds. His Jordan Honda team-mate Takuma Sato completed 14 laps in the morning and set a best time of 1m36.641s and went on to cover a further 23 laps in the second session, the track temperature having risen from a low of 14 to just over 21 degrees celsius. Sato finished in fifth position overall with a time of 1m33.901s, improving on his initial time by almost three seconds.
B.A.R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve finished in eighth place in the morning but improved on his initial time by over two seconds in the afternoon, setting the sixth best time overall of 1m34.373s and covering 36 laps. His B.A.R Honda team-mate Olivier Panis completed a total of 24 laps and finished in 14th position overall with a best time of 1m35.534s, an improvement of over two seconds on his fastest time of the morning. Panis was only able to complete eight laps in the first session due to a traction control related problem. All four-Honda powered drivers set their best times towards the end of the session as the rain eased off and they changed to intermediate tyres.
The Ferrari duo of Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher dominated the free practice session finishing in first and second positions respectively. Jordan Honda's Giancarlo Fisichella set the third fastest time followed by Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) and his Jordan Honda team-mate Takuma Sato while B.A.R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve completes the top six positions.
Shuhei Nakamoto -- Race and Test Team Manager, Honda Racing Development
"Not a bad free practice session overall and I'm quite happy with the results. It's good to see three of the Honda-powered drivers in the top six but Friday is always unpredictable and even more so today because of the weather. Clearly the drivers are doing a good job and hopefully we can carry this over to qualifying tomorrow and secure good grid positions."
"The car went well today, as it usually does in wet conditions. I was quite confident and we worked through the set-up plan and obviously we took that in the right direction. We are quite confident about tomorrow. If it is wet, we could be on the third or fourth row, although if it is dry, we may find it difficult to reach the top ten."
"It was a very good day. Bridgestone have brought us very good intermediate tyres which meant we were able to be very quick. Giancarlo and I are comfortable with driving in the wet and we enjoyed the run today. I am confident at this circuit and I have been able to go flat out immediately because I didn't have to spend time learning the track, so there was a lot of time for trying tyres and set-up work."
"We had a good first day today. Two very good sessions and the car feels very driveable in the rain which is great. In the past, I've always had a car which has been difficult to drive in the wet but it seems that this car works well here. It's good and it means we can be aggressive. If the rain stays all weekend then it's looking good for us. If it's dry, then I'm not sure where we'll be. The problem with qualifying in the wet is you have to be out at the right time and because you only have 12 laps you never know when the track is going to be at its quickest so its very difficult."
"Not a very good day at all today. Generally, the car was very difficult to drive and then I lost a lot of track time in this morning's session due to a traction-control related problem. That's the last thing you need in these track conditions. The problem was fixed for this afternoon but then I struggled all the way through the second session with oversteer. We tried a lot of things to improve it but nothing seemed to make the problem better. This feels like a very different car to the one I had in the Nurburgring; the balance is not good at all. We have to work through everything in the debrief now to try to find a solution for tomorrow morning."