The Honda Racing F1 Team's Jenson Button was the third fastest driver today in the first of the new-for-2006 knock-out style qualifying sessions in Bahrain. At the end of an action-packed hour of fevered activity in the garage and on the...
The Honda Racing F1 Team's Jenson Button was the third fastest driver today in the first of the new-for-2006 knock-out style qualifying sessions in Bahrain. At the end of an action-packed hour of fevered activity in the garage and on the racetrack, Jenson posted a time just 0.10 secs behind pole position and declared the new qualifying format a success, despite missing out on a front row grid slot.
His new team-mate Rubens Barrichello was less happy with the set-up the car in the qualifying hour and will start tomorrow's 57 lap Bahrain Grand Prix form the third row of the grid.
"I'm reasonably happy with third place. We had a good qualifying strategy but it was difficult to be consistent and get good clean runs because of the track conditions. The wind was an issue again today but it was gusting in a different direction to yesterday, so the track was still a bit of an unknown quantity."
"Looking at how the new qualifying panned out, for me it was very exciting. It was non-stop for me in the car and it must have been great for the fans watching at home. Traffic is always an issue with this format but we'll get used to it I'm sure and I think the team did a great job of handling what must have been a very pressured session. On to tomorrow now when we'll see how everyone's fuel strategies play out. It should be a great race and I'm looking forward to it."
"I think it was okay to be 6th today because I was struggling big time with the set-up of the car through yesterday and this morning. We analysed the problem earlier today and we felt sure there was room for improvement, so we changed things for qualifying and it was a little better. Now we just need to see what the race brings tomorrow."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting director:
"From where we were standing this must have been one of the most exciting and tense sessions we experienced to date! It all started early with the red flag in Q1, that forced us to quickly adapt our running plan to ensure we were going to make it to the last elimination round, which we did and came very close to being on the front row. Jenson had to contend with traffic and did a great job fighting for pole all the way."
"Rubens wasn't entirely happy with the balance of his car, nevertheless is in a good position on the third row. Although we just went through our first qualifying session of the year, there are still a lot of unknowns in terms of strategy for tomorrow. As we said prior to the event, we look forward to the race when the picture will become much clearer!"
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering director, Honda Racing Development:
"The new qualifying format was an interesting challenge! Both drivers showed their experience and did a calm and solid job. Until the other teams' fuel loads become clear tomorrow in the race it's hard to make a prediction, but I think we are in quite good shape. The engine is running well and we're looking forward to the race."
Lap time: 1:31.549
Lap time: 1:32.579