The European Grand Prix weekend got off to a disappointing start for Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda today. Jenson Button posted the 11th fastest lap in this afternoon's one-lap qualifying session, whilst team-mate Jacques Villeneuve ended the day 20th...
The European Grand Prix weekend got off to a disappointing start for Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda today. Jenson Button posted the 11th fastest lap in this afternoon's one-lap qualifying session, whilst team-mate Jacques Villeneuve ended the day 20th after spinning off when the weather conditions changed dramatically.
The Nürburgring had been basking in warm sunshine until this afternoon but this gave way to gloomy skies for the start of the qualifying hour. Button and Villeneuve lined up 10th and 13th for their single lap runs in respect of their current championship standings. Their placings at the end of first qualifying will see Jacques leaving the garage first and Jenson ninth for tomorrow's decisive session.
"My lap had some potential but I made a mistake in the last sector; I hit the kerb too hard, then the bollard and broke the front wing. It's disappointing because I did the same thing this morning so I'm not particularly pleased with myself. Having said that we've seen before that bollards don't work and several people had the same problem as me today. The bollards just break front wings.
I was lucky in the sense that it was only spitting with rain when I did my lap, whereas it was starting to come down hard by the time the last six or seven runners went out. I was pleased to see the rain though because I think we're going to need that. Hopefully it will be wet for final qualifying tomorrow."
"Webber, da Matta and myself were the unlucky ones today as we were the first cars out on a wet track. When I did my lap we were only allowed to change to wet tyres but the later runners were able to put on extreme wets. Halfway round, the wheels weren't even touching the ground; I was just floating like a boat. Normally when you aquaplane it's only for a tenth of a second or something, but there it was all the way down."
"I'll be the first one to go out for qualifying tomorrow, which is never a good thing, so now we have to just keep working on the car as best we can and hope that the weather turns the same way as it did today. Our tyres aren't competitive here so that's the best we can hope for tomorrow."
David Richards, Team Principal:
"The typically fickle weather conditions look likely to have a hand in the outcome of this race, and today set the tone with a difficult start to the weekend. This morning's free practice gave an indication of how much work the team and Bridgestone have to do under dry conditions here, although with a mixed forecast ahead of us it's anyone's guess what we'll be facing in qualifying tomorrow or the race on Sunday."
"Jenson had already damaged a couple of wings at the chicane prior to qualifying, so he can't be feeling too happy with himself, and if it was going to rain for anyone in qualifying, it had to start seconds before Jacques went out on the track. Things can only get better."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director:
"We were struggling for grip this morning despite being reasonably happy with the car balance, and we were not happy to find ourselves fifth and seventh out of the Bridgestone runners. Jenson's qualifying lap should have been better had he not hit the bollard in the chicane, breaking a front wing for the third time today."
"Jacques was very unfortunate with the timing of his qualifying run because it had just started to rain, leaving us with insufficient time to make any car set-up change except to fit wet tyres. As he started his timed lap, the conditions had worsened dramatically and he spun off as a result of aquaplaning. By the time it was appropriate for the FIA to permit use of the extreme wet, we were already on our timed lap, effectively on the wrong tyres."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"We expected to have both guys in the top ten today but we obviously didn't achieve that. Jenson finished just outside in 11th which is not too bad considering the damage to his front wing. But unfortunately Jacques, who was already at a disadvantage because of the weather, didn't manage a competitive time either."
Chassis: BAR Honda 005-04
Lap time: 1:32.479
Chassis: BAR Honda 005-03
Position: 20th No lap