SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA, July 16, 2000 - Lucky Strike Reynard BAR Honda driver, Jacques Villeneuve staged an inspired comeback charge to finish a fine fourth in today's Austrian Grand Prix, matching his result in the French Grand Prix, two weeks ago.
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA, July 16, 2000 - Lucky Strike Reynard BAR Honda driver,
Jacques Villeneuve staged an inspired comeback charge to finish a fine
fourth in today's Austrian Grand Prix, matching his result in the French
Grand Prix, two weeks ago. Villeneuve and team mate, Ricardo Zonta, were
both involved in a chaotic first corner incident immediately after the
start that saw them drop down the order to 15th and 17th places
respectively. Employing a late-race, one-stop pit stop strategy, though,
both men then climbed steadily up through the field. Unfortunately,
Zonta's efforts were thwarted by a 10-second stop-and-go penalty on lap
17, assessed for his involvement in the earlier incident, and an eventual
engine failure on lap 60, caused by debris in the radiators. Villeneuve,
however, pressed on in determined style and, aided by a beautifully
executed 7.8-second pit stop on lap 49, moved into fourth place and then
held the position to the chequered flag.
"I didn't really think I'd get in the points today, so it was a good result. We obviously had a terrible start to the race, but then our pit stop strategy was good - we pitted late - and that's what allowed us to finish fourth. I didn't have any problems in the race, other than with Heidfeld, who was driving like when he was in Formula 3000, just putting everyone in the grass. When you're running 14th and 15th, that sort of driving is very difficult to accept. All told, though, a good outcome." Ricardo Zonta:
"I got a really good start but I was caught between the two Ferraris. Michael (Schumacher) was on a really tight inside line and almost came to a stop as he was turning. I braked as hard as I could, but touched the back of his car and, as it turned out, damaged the front wing of my car. Actually, the balance was okay after that and I just pressed on as hard as I could until my pit stop on lap 45, when the mechanics also fitted a new nose. It all ended on lap 60, though, when the engine failed. I'm very sorry about the problem in the race because, as usual, everyone on the team worked really hard this weekend and it would have been nice to get a result for them." Craig Pollock, MD British American Racing:
"I'm very happy for what I would say is our best team effort to date and the best performance I've seen from Jacques in a long, long time. Without that first corner incident, both cars could have been in the points today. I'd like to thank everyone back at the factory, especially in the design and composites departments, for the effort they've invested, which is now being paid back in pure results." Takefumi Hosaka, MD Honda R&D:
"We have excellent technology to measure how much fuel is left in the car and by controlling the fuel consumption, we were able to run for two laps longer than planned. The correct strategy and excellent pit work made it possible for these elements to bring us a good result today."