The Turkish Grand Prix ended in frustration for the Honda Racing F1 Team as Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello finished in 11th and 14th places respectively.
At the start, Rubens got too much clutch slip away from the line, which allowed Jenson - who started one place further back in 13th - to pass him into turn one. However, no sooner had the race started than the Safety Car was deployed after a collision at the back of the field between Fisichella and Nakajima.
The race resumed two laps later, with Jenson and Rubens running in 11th and 12th places after they had both gained another position when Kovalainen pitted following a puncture. The Hondas then ran in formation until Rubens made his only pitstop of the race on lap 27, from which he rejoined in 14th position.
On the prime tyre, Jenson climbed to eighth place during this first pitstop window before making his single pitstop on lap 31. He rejoined the race in 11th position, behind Jarno Trulli and ahead of Nelson Piquet, and it was at this stage of the race that the tide turned against him. He struggled for grip on the softer, option tyre as he had during qualifying yesterday. As more rubber went down on the track, the handling of Jenson's RA108 improved and he started to set more competitive lap times.
Rubens' record breaking race was a disappointing one as he was unable to improve on 14th position.
Weather Fine and dry
Temperatures Air: 17-18C Track: 27-36C
Q. What was the story of your race today?
A. "Although I managed to improve slightly on my start position, it was a disappointing race for us. The start was clean and I had a pretty good first lap, however our pace wasn't as good as we expected it to be during the race. I had a problem on my first stint with the front tyres, caused by the brakes overheating, which cost me a bit of time. We then changed our strategy to a one-stop which worked pretty well. Unfortunately the difference in fuel loads really tells here so it was difficult to hold back the quicker cars behind me who were two-stopping. We need to make some further improvements to the car before we are able to challenge for the points again."
Q. A disappointing result in your record-breaking 257th Grand Prix?
A. "It was a frustrating race for us today. Unfortunately we did not have the pace to compete and overall I'm disappointed with the performance of the car. I suffered from understeer and traffic in my first stint so we stopped a little bit early to try and get me out into some space. From then on, it was an uneventful run to the end of the race. We have a lot of work to do over the next couple of tests to try to find some pace."
ROSS BRAWN, Team Principal
Q. Can you summarise the team's race today?
A. "After a surprisingly uncompetitive qualifying yesterday we were hoping that it would be business as usual for the race today. A few laps in both drivers had poor balance and it was clear that our pace was not enough to challenge for the points. We switched the strategy on both cars from two-stop to a one-stop mid race. This was mainly to defend against the cars behind and this approach proved successful. It also gave us the possibility that we would gain if there was a safety car in the middle part of the race as this was our only realistic chance of points today."
Q. What steps do you plan to take in order to improve for the next races?
A. "We have a track test at the Paul Ricard circuit in France to prepare for Monaco and Montreal, followed by an aero test at Barcelona to validate our next aerodynamic step. We should have some visually interesting new parts for Monaco, the highest downforce circuit so far. However we do not expect Monaco to be the highest downforce track of the year - our calculations show that Singapore will require even more. Montreal is at the opposite end of the spectrum with the demand placed on very high straight line speed.