US GP: Honda Friday qualifying notes

HONDA DRIVER TAKES TENTH IN INDIANAPOLIS Button and Villeneuve finish tenth and 16th in First Qualifying Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's Jenson Button set the tenth fastest time in today's first qualifying session for the US Grand Prix while ...

HONDA DRIVER TAKES TENTH IN INDIANAPOLIS
Button and Villeneuve finish tenth and 16th in First Qualifying

Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's Jenson Button set the tenth fastest time in today's first qualifying session for the US Grand Prix while Jacques Villeneuve finished 16th.

Chilly weather and dreary skies were the order of the day for the first free practice session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The drivers' and constructors' championships are still up for grabs and Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) and Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren) will be fighting to stay in contention this weekend.

B*A*R Honda's Jenson Button set the 12th quickest time and completed 28 laps this morning. His team-mate Jacques Villeneuve completed 29 laps, finishing 14th overall at the end of the morning.

The session was red-flagged for about seven minutes due to the engine failure of Giancarlo Fisichella's Jordan Ford. The session restarted just before midday and as the cars made their way back on to the circuit the rain started to fall. During the final few minutes of the session the rain got heavier which gave some of the teams the opportunity to test their wet weather set-ups.

Ferrari's Michael Schumacher was first out on track for final qualifying as he is leading the drivers' championship. The weather remained cool (16 degrees) and the dark skies continued to loom. Button took to the track tenth in the running order for his one flying lap as it started to spit with rain. The Briton struggled with oversteer and very low grip around the circuit, setting a time of 1m11.847s and finishing tenth overall.

Villeneuve was out on track 15th for his qualifying lap as the rain got harder. The Canadian went out on intermediate tyres and finished 16th overall, setting a time of 1m18.547s. For final qualifying tomorrow Villeneuve and Button will take to the track in fifth and 11th position respectively.

Jarno Trulli (Renault) set a fastest lap of 1m09.566s around the 4.192km/2.605 miles circuit, followed by Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello and Jaguar's Mark Webber. The Williams duo of Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya finished fourth and fifth while David Coulthard (McLaren) completes the top six.

Shuhei Nakamoto - Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:

"The on-off rain played a big part in the times today. Who knows what will happen tomorrow - it might be our turn to benefit from the conditions."

Jenson Button Position: 10th

"Not a great first qualifying for me. I didn't make any mistakes and the car balance is good. But there was very little grip and we just seemed to be slow today. We worked through our tyre options this morning but I think we made the wrong choice for qualifying. There is definitely room for improvement during the rest of the weekend but it looks likely that the weather is going to play a big part."

Jacques Villeneuve Position: 16th

"For the second time this year, I went out just as the rain started to fall. And in those conditions, there's nothing you can do. You still drive as hard as you can but you know you're going to be slow and way down the time sheet. The car is quite good in the wet and we did some laps in the wet this morning but there's no way you can get close to the times set by those who were running on a dry track. Wet weather makes qualifying a bit of a lottery and if it continues tomorrow, then it only takes a few seconds to make the difference between a good or a bad grid position. If it's wet for everyone, then I think we have reason to be optimistic."

-honda-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Williams , Jordan