Belgian GP: BAR race notes

B*A*R Honda were back on the podium this afternoon as Jenson Button stormed to a spectacular third place finish in the Belgian Grand Prix. In a tumultuous race in typically difficult weather conditions, Jenson battled hard throughout the 44-lap...

B*A*R Honda were back on the podium this afternoon as Jenson Button stormed to a spectacular third place finish in the Belgian Grand Prix. In a tumultuous race in typically difficult weather conditions, Jenson battled hard throughout the 44-lap race to achieve his first podium at the challenging Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

His first stint was fraught with oversteer and he was unable to prevent Ralf Schumacher and Giancarlo Fisichella from getting past. This was corrected with a front wing adjustment in his first pitstop, which came under safety car conditions after Fisichella's enormous accident at Eau Rouge.

The team gambled with a switch to dry tyres after the threat of further rain subsided but it became very clear within the space of a lap that the conditions were still too damp and a second stop ensued to switch back to wets. The rest of his race ran faultlessly and he was closing in on Alonso to finish 3.7 seconds behind him.

Takuma Sato's race came to a premature end after just 13 laps when he emerged from behind the safety car with cold tyres and brakes and was unable to prevent contact with Michael Schumacher as he braked into La Source. As a result, Takuma has eben given a 10-place grid penalty at the next race for his part in the incident

Jenso Button:

"It's fantastic to be back on the podium and I have to thank the team for their incredibly hard work to get us back into the game here. The first stint of the race wasn't easy. I had such bad oversteer I barely had to turn into the corners! At the first stop we adjusted the front wing which made things better but we were a little too optimistic in switching to drys so we had to come in again and change back to wets."

"Double stinting the tyres really made all the difference for us though. I have to thank the entire team and Michelin for making this result possible. The pitstops were great and the Honda engine was faultless all weekend. We have some new developments for the next few races so I'm feeling really positive. Let's hope we have a few more days like today before the end of the season"

Takuma Sato:

"It was very tricky at the beginning of the race, but I made a good first lap and gained many positions. It was an exciting first stint and things were going well up to the first stop."

"The incident with Michael happened on the first corner after the restart, following the safety car. With cold tyres and brakes, it was very difficult to stop the car and unfortunately, I touched the back of him. Obviously, I am disappointed that we could not deliver a good result today."

Gil de Ferran, Sporting director:

"Exciting is probably a gross understatement to describe Jenson's race today. To finish on the podium from where we were earlier on in the race was fantastic. After good starts by both drivers the strategy became quite complex during the first safety car period."

"At that point it is fair to say we underestimated how low the level of grip was and how long it would eventually take for the track conditions to improve enough for dry tyres. Having put drys on at our first stop, we came back in to fit wet tyres and fell to the back of the pack for the restart."

"Unfortunately for Taku, who was having a very good day, the race ended soon afterwards with the turn one incident. From that point on, all went well for us as Jenson drove a real stormer in the late stages and was the fastest man on the track for many laps."

"The crew did a fantastic job under a lot a pressure, executing many pit stops perfectly in close succession. It is always good to go into the next race after a podium so onwards to Brazil!"

Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering director, Honda Racing Development:

"Jenson drove another very good race for a hard-fought podium. After struggling at the start with oversteer, he got more comfortable with the car after a wing adjustment. It was a shame for Taku that he had an incident with Michael shortly after his tyre change. The new spec engine ran without any problems, and we'll aim to keep up the momentum for the last three races."

Jenson Button
Chassis: BAR Honda 007-04
Position: 3rd
Best Lap Time: 1:53.323

Takuma Sato
Chassis: BAR Honda 007-05
Position: DNF (13 laps)
Best Lap Time: 1:57.534

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Takuma Sato , Jenson Button , Ralf Schumacher , Michael Schumacher , Gil de Ferran , Shuhei Nakamoto