Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda drivers Jenson Button, Takuma Sato and third driver Anthony Davidson were delighted to be back on track in Spa today as Formula One made a much-welcomed return to the Ardennes forest and a track that ranks as the favourite...
Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda drivers Jenson Button, Takuma Sato and third driver Anthony Davidson were delighted to be back on track in Spa today as Formula One made a much-welcomed return to the Ardennes forest and a track that ranks as the favourite for many of the current drivers.
Anthony's day got off to another blistering start when he posted the fastest time of the morning session, ahead of the Ferraris. His running was cut short by an oil leak but he was able to maintain his 0.3 seconds advantage over Schumacher nonetheless. Jenson and Takuma conducted less running in the morning waiting for the damp circuit to dry and the marbles to clear. They ended the session 11th and 13th.
Their three B*A*R Honda 006s were in fighting form for the second session, with Jenson, Anthony and Takuma securing 2nd, 4th and 5th places respectively.
"So far, so good. Having all three of our drivers in the top five today is a great start to the weekend. We started out this morning with very low grip, but we've found a way round that and things are going pretty well. It's a circuit I really enjoy and I had missed the challenge of Eau Rouge."
"Obviously the chicane at the end of the lap is a little different to what we're used to but it's still very exciting because you can outbreak yourself very easily, so you can lose a bit of time there. The car is working well here. Ferrari are looking very strong as usual but we have to compare ourselves to Renault, who are our immediate competitors in the Championship."
"It is great to be back in Spa again and to see all of our cars finishing in the top five today. We are very happy with the cars' performance as we were quick on the first timed laps, however we need to work on the consistency of the longer runs tomorrow as this is what counts in the race. Luckily we had dry weather today and we had no problems with the laps, so we are happy and looking forward to another strong programme tomorrow."
"It's great to be back here at Spa - a circuit I know pretty well from my Formula Ford and Formula 3 days, as well as racing here for Minardi two years ago. I felt very happy with my performance this morning but my session was cut short by an oil leak, so I couldn't finalise my back to back tyre comparison and had to postpone it until the second session."
"The track was a bit damp to start with and full of marbles, but it cleared up pretty quickly. I personally don't think the changes to the Bus Stop have made a significant difference; it was always the trickiest part of the track to get 100% right and that's still the case. One thing that hasn't changed though is the weather! The rain held off today but I'm sure there will be plenty more to come throughout the rest of the weekend!"
David Richards, Team Principal:
"An extremely encouraging start to the weekend, with all three drivers doing an excellent job. However, the weather at Spa is notoriously fickle, and whilst we have proven how fast we are in the dry, there is a strong possibility that we are going to be tested in wet conditions during tomorrow's Qualifying."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director:
"We are generally pleased with the way our Belgian Grand Prix weekend has started. We have achieved our set programme and have encountered only one problem, which was a change to the T-car engine after Anthony's morning session was cut short by an oil leak. Otherwise we seem to be performing as expected. It's good to be back at Spa and we are looking forward to a positive weekend ahead."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"A fairly routine Friday for us. The car looks to be competitive as all three drivers have been quick at different times during the sessions today. Let's see what the weather brings tomorrow."
Chassis: BAR Honda 006-05
Practice session 1: 11th, 1:47.511
Practice session 2: 2nd, 1:45.015
Chassis: BAR Honda 006-06
Practice session 1: 13th, 1:47.618
Practice session 2: 5th, 1:45.451
Chassis: BAR Honda 006-04
Practice session 1: 1st, 1:45.104
Practice session 2: 4th, 1:45.437