Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's race ended with disappointment today, as both Jenson Button and Takuma Sato were amongst the casualties of a dramatic comeback for the Belgian Grand Prix. It was a race that reminded the fans just what they had been ...
Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's race ended with disappointment today, as both Jenson Button and Takuma Sato were amongst the casualties of a dramatic comeback for the Belgian Grand Prix. It was a race that reminded the fans just what they had been missing in the two years since Spa last featured on the calendar, but it was brought to a premature conclusion for B*A*R as Webber hit Takuma and punted him off at Eau Rouge and Jenson's charge towards a strong points finish was cut short by a puncture and subsequent blow-out.
Starting from 12th on the grid Jenson was caught up in the melée at the notorious turn one hairpin, La Source. He was unable to avoid Fisichella and lost his front wing as he clashed with the Sauber. He pitted at the end of the first lap under the safety car, but recovered well to work his way up to 5th. With just 15 laps remaining he suffered a blow-out to his right-rear tyre and his car was propelled across the track and into the side of Baumgartner's Minardi, ending the race for both drivers.
Takuma emerged unscathed from the first corner mayhem and was on a charge as he swept down into Eau Rouge. He went around the outside of Mark Webber who had lost his front wing but the Australian hit Takuma and spun his car off the track.
"I got a bad start when I was hit by Pizzonia and went wide and into the back of Massa at turn one. I lost my front wing and had to pit at the end of the first lap. After that, the car was running reasonably well, we had a good fuel load and I felt pretty pleased with the balance of car. Towards the end of my race I felt that I had a problem on the rear and then the tyre let go, so I am very disappointed as we were confident that we would have been on the podium with our strategy. We now look forward to testing again in Monza next week and maintaining our challenge against Renault at the next race."
"What a race today! We could have finished in a strong position and personally I was extremely disappointed after we had a really good start and I was running in 8th position. I then saw Mark Webber going downhill towards Eau Rouge extremely slowly with his front wing missing and the problem was that he was in the middle of the racing line, so that is why I had to hit the brakes quite hard to avoid him."
"Montoya was overtaking me on the right-hand side at the top of the hill whilst I was passing Webber on his right, and I became sandwiched between the two cars. I didn't know what happened at the time, but Webber then hit me. We were confident that we could have delivered a strong result today, however, we have maintained our position in the Championship and will return to testing next week in Monza to prepare for the Italian Grand Prix in two weeks' time."
David Richards, Team Principal:
"Well what can you say about a day like that? In fact, this has been a weekend that has thrown virtually everything at us! One has to look on the positive side, however, and with our nearest rivals also failing to score, we have preserved the status quo in terms of Championship position and there is everything to fight for in the remaining four races of the season."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director:
"This is a obviously a disappointing result with the team failing to score points for the first time this year. Takuma's race was stopped on lap one when he was hit by Webber in Eau Rouge. Jenson had to pit to replace his front wing and with good pit work by the team we were able to use the resulting safety car without losing places. By keeping to our original plan and running a long first stint we had made a very good recovery from our qualifying position."
"Unfortunately when running in fifth place, shortly before his second stop, a sudden puncture at 200mph into Les Combs spun him into a collision with Baumgartner, but thankfully neither driver was hurt in the high-speed impact. It is a shame that we didn't finish because Jenson had a good chance of being on the podium, but fortunately the results mean that we haven't lost our relative position in the Championship and we are confident that we will be competitive in the last four races."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"It seems extraordinary that after a race like that our championship position has not changed at all in relation to our nearest competitors. This is the first race this year where we haven't scored any points and it is disappointing that our record has been broken by a couple of accidents but sometimes you have days like this in racing. We must work hard at the Monza test this we