Canadian GP: Honda Saturday notes

Honda-powered driver Giancarlo Fisichella (DHL Jordan Honda) qualified on row three of the grid for tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix. The Lucky Strike B.A.R Hondas of Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis will line up in ninth and 11th positions on...

Honda-powered driver Giancarlo Fisichella (DHL Jordan Honda) qualified on row three of the grid for tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix. The Lucky Strike B.A.R Hondas of Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis will line up in ninth and 11th positions on the fifth and sixth rows respectively, separated by just three tenths of a second, while Takuma Sato qualified his Jordan Honda in 15th position (eighth row).

All four Honda-powered drivers waited almost 20 minutes before taking to the track for today's qualifying session in Montreal. Jordan Honda's Giancarlo Fisichella set his best time of 1m14.132s on his fourth and final outing, improving on his first timed lap by five tenths of a second and securing sixth position on the grid, the best qualifying position for a Honda-powered F1 driver and car so far this year. B.A.R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve improved his lap times steadily throughout the session, setting his best time of 1m14.564s on his third outing, improving on his initial timed lap by almost a second, placing him ninth on the grid. On his final set of three laps the Canadian driver's qualifying session came to an end as he had a suspected engine problem and span onto the grass at the pitlane exit.

B.A.R Honda's Olivier Panis' qualifying session was not quite as eventful as his team-mates, the Frenchman completing four sets of three laps. Panis set his best time of 1m14.713s on his second outing, which was an improvement of eight tenths of a second on his first run, and placed him in 11th position. Jordan Honda's Takuma Sato recorded his fastest lap of 1m14.940s on his second outing before suffering an engine failure. The spare car had been set up for Fisichella so the Jordan mechanics worked fast to make the necessary changes to the car for Sato as he ran back to the pits. With 10 minutes to go the Japanese rookie was back out on track, but he did not manage to improve on his best lap and will start tomorrow's race from 15th position.

In slightly cooler weather conditions (21 degrees) at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) secured pole position, followed by the Ferraris of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. Ralf Schumacher (Williams) and McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen will start from fourth and fifth positions with Jordan Honda's Giancarlo Fisichella completing the top six positions for tomorrow's grid.

Shuhei Nakamoto – Race and Test Team Manager, Honda Racing Development
"All four Honda-powered drivers did a good job today and Giancarlo and Jacques did well to secure third and fifth row grid positions, so I think both teams will have a chance to fight for points tomorrow. Takuma stopped running because of engine failure and it looks like Jacques' engine had a problem as well, so I'm disappointed about that. As soon as we can get to look at the engines properly we'll find out what caused the problems. I also think Olivier was a little unlucky as he has been fast all weekend. Anyway, I can see some small signs of progress and want to carry that forward to the race tomorrow."

Giancarlo Fisichella
"Top six was more than I expected today, so I am very pleased. The engineers and mechanics did a good job and everything went well, we improved the car set-up step by step and on my last run, I did a particularly good lap. This position is a good starting point for tomorrow. I have done well in the past here and I feel anything is possible. I hope to score some points but my target would be to get on the podium which I have done four times before at this circuit."

Jacques Villeneuve
"I'm definitely pleased with our performance today. I was a little bit worried yesterday because we were playing around with fuel but we did better than I expected today. We managed to improve the car overnight and that gave us an acceptable qualifying today, so I'm quite happy. It was too bad that we had an engine problem on the last run because we timed it just right before the rain came and could have improved the lap. I think we're in a position to fight in the race tomorrow and hopefully get a point. We're not quick enough down the straights but we're in a good position overall."

Olivier Panis
"After the first signs of improvement with the car on Friday, I felt that we had the potential for a top 10 qualifying position today. Jacques proved that to be the case and I had the car to do the same, so I'm disappointed with 11th. I had a gearshift problem at the end of my first lap which we corrected in time for the 2nd run. The first two sectors of my 2nd and 3rd runs were very good but we just couldn't squeeze more on the third sector. We turned the car around quickly for my last run but it started raining when I left the garage. Still, we have to look on the positive side and be pleased with the improvement in the overall package."

Takuma Sato
"Of course I'm disappointed because I could have got a better position than this. I was going well on my second run as we had improved the set-up and at the stage when my engine failed I was only three tenths behind Giancarlo and in P9. I had to run back to the pit lane to get in the T-car but it had a slightly different set-up. We made changes, ready for a final run, but it started to rain and I had no time to better my fastest lap."

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