French GP: Honda Saturday qualifying notes

SECOND ROW SLOT FOR HONDA-POWERED JENSON BUTTON B.A.R Honda's Button and Sato qualify fourth and seventh for French GP Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda's Jenson Button and Takuma Sato put in a solid performance at Magny-Cours today, qualifying their...

SECOND ROW SLOT FOR HONDA-POWERED JENSON BUTTON
B.A.R Honda's Button and Sato qualify fourth and seventh for French GP

Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda's Jenson Button and Takuma Sato put in a solid performance at Magny-Cours today, qualifying their B.A.R Honda 006s in fourth and seventh place to start tomorrow's French Grand Prix from row two and four respectively.

Button was on track 15th for his final run just over half way through the hour long qualifying session, having finished sixth in pre-qualifying. The Briton put in a tidy lap and was the first man to break into the 1m13s in this session. Button took provisional pole position but was demoted to P4 by the end of the session, just one hundreth of a second separating the second, third and fourth placed drivers.

Having set the eighth fastest pre-qualifying time this afternoon, B.A.R Honda's Sato was the 13th driver out on track. The Japanese star was slightly off the pace during sector one and two but recovered well and made up time in the final sector to clock a 1m14.240s, finally qualifying his B.A.R Honda 006 seventh on the grid.

Both Honda-powered drivers enjoyed a trouble-free morning, Button and Sato covering 63 laps between them and finishing the morning practice session second and fourth fastest respectively.

Weather conditions improved at Magny-Cours today and it remained dry (23 degrees) as Fernando Alonso secured pole position in his Renault for tomorrow's French Grand Prix, followed by Ferrari's Michael Schumacher in P2. McLaren's David Coulthard and B.A.R Honda's Jenson Button will line up behind them on row two while Jarno Trulli (Renault) and Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) will start the race fifth and sixth. B.A.R Honda's Takuma Sato and Williams' Mark Gene will line up in seventh and eighth position respectively.

Jenson Button Position: 4th

"It was a reasonably good lap but I'm disappointed that we are outside the top three. I was struggling with oversteer prior to pre-qualifying so we made a change to the car. That didn't have the right effect during the first run so we changed again for qualifying and the balance was a lot better. The car has been working well here. Going into the race it's not 100% perfect but we are consistent and the tyres are working well, so I think we will be strong here. It was interesting to see that McLaren were so quick and with Renault up there I think everyone can look forward to an interesting race. For our part, we need both cars to finish and to score some good points if we are to continue taking the fight to Renault."

Takuma Sato Position: 7th

"We are a little disappointed not to have been slightly further up the grid but the gap between pole and myself is only 0.5 seconds, so it was very close. I lost a bit of time on my lap but the team were able to record similar times with Jenson and myself. The conditions were very similar to this morning and we were generally strong with reasonable grip. I hope to have a strong race tomorrow; it should certainly be an exciting one!"

Shuhei Nakamoto - Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:

"Both drivers have done a very good job and produced clean laps. I think it will be an exciting race as the times at the front are incredibly close - Takuma, although in seventh, is only two and a half tenths from the front row."

-honda-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Takuma Sato , Jarno Trulli , Jenson Button , Michael Schumacher , David Coulthard , Fernando Alonso , Shuhei Nakamoto
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Williams