The Honda Racing F1 Team's home crowd will see Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello line up on the 4th row of the grid at Suzuka tomorrow after they qualified 7th and 8th for the Japanese Grand Prix. After yesterday's downpour, today's weather...
The Honda Racing F1 Team's home crowd will see Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello line up on the 4th row of the grid at Suzuka tomorrow after they qualified 7th and 8th for the Japanese Grand Prix.
After yesterday's downpour, today's weather conditions were fine and dry, although a gusty wind was making car handling inconsistent. In this morning's free practice, Jenson posted the 3rd fastest lap and was the quickest Michelin runner on track. Rubens was less happy with the balance of his car and switched to the T-car chassis for the start of the qualifying hour.
Both drivers eased their way through session one but the second shoot-out was a much more tense affair as there were several surprise casualties in the dying seconds. Jenson moved up to 4th and Rubens' lap was good for 10th position, securing his place in the final session.
The final 15 minutes highlighted the differences between cars and strategies at this circuit and Jenson and Rubens qualified in 7th and 8th places, the second fastest pairing on Michelin tyres.
"I would obviously have liked to be further up the grid here but we made the best of what we had today. On low fuel the car was very good but as soon as we put the fuel in we were struggling for rear grip. For some reason, in these windy conditions, the car doesn't work so well but we're expecting it to be a lot calmer tomorrow. I think it will be a tough race but I know we will have tremendous support from the Honda fans out there and we will do everything we can to secure a good result."
"I would like to thank all the boys for doing a tremendous job. When the circumstances are not working in your favour it's very difficult, but we have done the best job we can. Thanks to the hard work of the team I was able to qualify well inside the top ten today. This is obviously our home race so we will be giving it everything we have tomorrow in order to secure the best possible result and to put on a good show for our home crowd."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director:
"Our results in this session were satisfactory. In the end we were the second fastest team on Michelins so far this weekend and we are in a good place for the start of the race. Given the issues that Rubens was having this morning, we elected to change him to the spare chassis. As a result he was much happier and fought hard to secure his place in the top ten. Jenson was very fast throughout qualifying and got everything out of the car this afternoon. We shall see how the different strategies play out tomorrow but hopefully we can put on a good show in front of Honda's many fans!"