It was a difficult qualifying session for the Honda Racing F1 Team at Silverstone today. An untimely rain shower led to both drivers being knocked out after Q1 as Rubens Barrichello qualified in 16th position and Jenson Button in 17th. Rain...
It was a difficult qualifying session for the Honda Racing F1 Team at Silverstone today. An untimely rain shower led to both drivers being knocked out after Q1 as Rubens Barrichello qualified in 16th position and Jenson Button in 17th.
Rain clouds were looming overhead as Q1 got underway, so both drivers took to the racetrack immediately to capitalise on the dry conditions. Rubens completed one run to set a time of 1:22.510, while Jenson did two laps to post a time of 1:22.312.
The drivers then made subtle changes to the set-up of their RA108s before taking to the track once again. They both improved their times, Rubens lapping in 1:21.512 and Jenson in 1:21.685, but they were still down in 16th and 18th positions respectively as rain began to fall at the southern end of the track, around Stowe and Club corners.
The rain stopped with three minutes of the session remaining, and despite less than ideal track conditions, both drivers ventured out of the pits in an effort to move into Q2. Jenson improved to a 1:21.631, despite being unable to get enough temperature into his front tyres. He moved ahead of Nico Rosberg on the timesheets, but it wasn't enough to see him take any further part in the qualifying session. Rubens was unable to improve on his existing time.
Weather: Cool with wet-dry conditions
Q. A tough qualifying session in unpredictable weather conditions today?
A. "It's unfortunate that we were not able to progress further in qualifying today and I'm afraid that reflects the true potential of the car on a dry track. Out on the circuit, I thought we were through in 15th when it began to rain, but unfortunately it was just raining in the section of track that I was on and others were able to improve further round the lap, dropping me to 16th. I wasn't able to improve on my final lap at the end of the session as I had too much understeer in the car and the tyres were graining on the damp surface. We're expecting wet conditions for the race tomorrow which should make it exciting and open up possibilities if we can stay out of trouble."
Q. The rain during Q1 came just at the wrong moment for you. How did that affect your qualifying today?
A. "It was a disappointing qualifying session today for my home Grand Prix. The brief rain shower did come just at the wrong moment for us as my final run on the completely dry track was compromised by traffic through Becketts, which left me in 18th when the shower began. So I had to go out right at the end of the session to try to improve regardless of the conditions. Unfortunately I couldn't get heat into my tyres through the first sector, which is always difficult, but even more so when the track was still slippery. I made a little bit of progress to jump Rosberg into 17th but not enough to make it into Q2. It's disappointing, but we know the car is not that competitive in the dry. It'll be a tough race but you can make progress here during the race, particularly if we have the expected wet conditions."
Head of Race & Test Engineering
Q. After a good start to the day in free practice, what went wrong in qualifying?
A. "The car performed as expected this morning in both wet and dry conditions, which was just outside the top ten. Qualifying started with a little fluster as there were showers predicted so everyone rushed out to get a dry lap in. In the melee we found ourselves in the drop-out zone when the shower eventually came. We were fortunate that it dried in time for another run but the improvement was not enough to carry us through to Q2. The drivers did not have the perfect lap or balance, but in reality, had we made Q2, I don't believe we had the pace to progress further in these conditions."
Q. What can the team achieve from here?
A. "Very little can be changed with the car due to parc ferme regulations. In any case I don't think that we would alter the cars' set-up very much as the basic balance is good following the test here. The strategy will be adjusted to suit our grid position, although in a dry race points will be difficult. Rain is still predicted however, which could make our chances much more interesting."