Malaysian GP: Honda Saturday qualifying notes

B*A*R HONDA DRIVER SECURES FIFTH ROW SLOT Button and Villeneuve to start ninth and 12th in Malaysia Jenson Button qualified his Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda in ninth place for tomorrow's grid of the Malaysian Grand Prix to start the race from the ...

B*A*R HONDA DRIVER SECURES FIFTH ROW SLOT
Button and Villeneuve to start ninth and 12th in Malaysia

Jenson Button qualified his Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda in ninth place for tomorrow's grid of the Malaysian Grand Prix to start the race from the fifth row while team-mate Jacques Villeneuve will line up in 12th position on the sixth row.

Button and Villeneuve covered a total of 60 laps between them in the two 45-minute timed sessions at Sepang this morning and finished eighth and 18th respectively, as the McLaren pairing of Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard topped the time sheets.

Villeneuve took to the track in sweltering conditions for his one flying lap just over 10 minutes into the session, the air and track temperatures having risen to 34 and 51 degrees. The Canadian went out sixth in the running order and snatched provisional pole with a time of 1m38.289s, the Canadian driver finally qualifying in 12th place after all the runs were completed. Button was out on track half way through the session and set a time of 1m38.073s, ending up ninth for the start of tomorrow's race.

Renault drivers Fernando Alonso and Jarno Trulli surprised the crowd by taking the front row as Ferrari's Michael Schumacher and McLaren's David Coulthard qualified third and fourth. Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) and Sauber's Nick Heidfeld will line up in fifth and sixth position respectively.

Shuhei Nakamoto - Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development

"We've had an encouraging day overall, but I don't think ninth and 12th is a true reflection of our pace. Both drivers did a good job and their performance today fits in with our race strategy. I'm optimistic - it's a very close grid and one way or another the weather is going to play a big part tomorrow."

Jenson Button Position: 9th

"It's nice to be inside the top 10 but I didn't think the lap was going to be as quick as it was; I was a little bit disappointed with it at the end. The first sector seemed good to me then I made a mistake in each of the last two sectors. I think the time I gained under braking led me to make those mistakes so I guess I was just pushing too hard. This is roughly where we'd expected to be after a difficult morning in which we veered between oversteer and too much understeer before it started to come together. I think we're running a good fuel load for tomorrow so I'm optimistic."

Jacques Villeneuve Position: 12th

"We've improved the car a lot during the weekend and the balance was quite good for qualifying but I made an error in the hairpin and lost some time. Too bad, because the car was a lot better today. I'm a little less worried than I was yesterday but I'm starting from the sixth row of the grid which isn't going to help but I'm confident for tomorrow having concentrated on race set-up and strategy."

Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director

"The target for a Saturday afternoon is to qualify to your strategy; to get exactly where you should be for your fuel load. The drivers are reasonably happy with where they've finished the session although both made mistakes and feel there was more in the car today. When all the strategies unfold tomorrow we'll see exactly what the relative performance is."

-honda-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jarno Trulli , Jenson Button , Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , David Coulthard , Jacques Villeneuve , Nick Heidfeld , Kimi Raikkonen , Fernando Alonso , Shuhei Nakamoto
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren