Australian GP: BAR Saturday qualifying notes

Second Row Slot for B.A.R Honda Driver Button and Sato to start fourth and seventh in Melbourne The Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda drivers put in an impressive season-opening qualifying performance, Jenson Button and Takuma Sato qualifying their...

Second Row Slot for B.A.R Honda Driver
Button and Sato to start fourth and seventh in Melbourne

The Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda drivers put in an impressive season-opening qualifying performance, Jenson Button and Takuma Sato qualifying their B.A.R Honda 006s in fourth and seventh position for tomorrow's grid of the Australian Grand Prix.

This year the qualifying session is made up of two parts. In the first the race drivers carry out a single timed lap starting in the order they were classified in at the previous race. After a two minute break, each driver carries out another timed lap, running in reverse order of the times set in part one, with the slowest driver going out first. The times set in the second part of the qualifying session determine the grid positions for the race, unless two drivers set exactly the same time, in which case the times from part one will be used to determine the fastest driver.

Conditions in Melbourne were fine and dry at the start of part one (air 23, track 40 degrees) and first out on track was Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello, the winner of the 2003 Japanese Grand Prix. Honda-powered Jenson Button was out fourth in the running order and set the sixth fastest part one time of 1m25.898s. His team-mate Takuma Sato was the sixth driver to set his timed lap, recording the 11th fastest time of 1m26.737s.

Takuma and Jenson took to the track 10th and 15th respectively in the second part of qualifying, as dictated by the times set in part one. Takuma drove a great lap and took provisional pole with a time of 1m25.851s, the Japanese driver finally qualifying in seventh place on row four after all the runs were completed. Jenson was on blistering form, setting the second fastest time of 1m24.998s, placing him fourth on the grid on the second row at the end of the session. Juan Pablo Montoya set the same time as Jenson but the Columbian takes third position on the grid as he was quicker than the Briton in part one of the qualifying session.

The teams are allowed to change the fuel load and set up of the car during the first part of qualifying but must go out in what is effectively race trim for the second part. As in 2003, teams are not allowed to work on the cars between the end of second qualifying and the start of the race on Sunday.

The Ferrari duo of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello took the front row while Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) and B.A.R Honda's Jenson Button qualified third and fourth. Fernando Alonso (Renault) and local hero Mark Webber (Jaguar) will line up in fifth and sixth place respectively.

Shuhei Nakamoto -- Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development
"We're happy. B.A.R and ourselves have worked well as a team to overcome a few problems earlier today and make this result possible. Clearly tomorrow is when it counts and we will be refocusing all our efforts on that tonight. It feels good to be starting the season from the second and fourth rows."

Jenson Button -- Position: 4th
"I really enjoyed that. It's always difficult to achieve the perfect lap but I'm very happy. It's a little bit disappointing to miss out on third after I matched Montoya's time. I had switched to the T car for qualifying after a problem with my race car in practice this morning. Under the new rules we also had to switch the engine from my race car so it was a race against time for us to be ready in time to start qualifying. The team did a very good job though. If we have the reliability in the race tomorrow then we're definitely looking strong for points."

Takuma Sato -- Position: 7th
"I'm very pleased with my lap -- the best I've had this weekend. It was a little bit difficult this morning because we had a mechanical problem with the gearbox, so I lost quite a bit of track time. We made a set up change prior to the first qualifying run and the car didn't feel too good, but we switched back to the practice set-up and I just felt very comfortable for the second session. I'm really looking forward to the race tomorrow now."

-barhonda-

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