Jenson Button will lead B*A*R Honda's challenge in tomorrow's Belgian Grand Prix from the fourth row of the grid starting in 8th place, directly in front of his team-mate Takuma Sato in 10th. Preparation for qualifying was a challenge in itself...
Jenson Button will lead B*A*R Honda's challenge in tomorrow's Belgian Grand Prix from the fourth row of the grid starting in 8th place, directly in front of his team-mate Takuma Sato in 10th.
Preparation for qualifying was a challenge in itself as the team squeezed the work of three free practice sessions into two today after rain stopped play for the whole of the Friday afternoon session. The deadline for tyre choice was deferred to noon today and the team made good progress through a busy schedule of set-up work and tyre evaluations.
Jenson struggled with a wheel-locking problem through the morning which, whilst overcome, hindered his preparation for qualifying and he admitted to playing it cautious on the decisive single-lap.
Takuma was the 5th driver out on track so he was unable to benefit from the track evolution during the qualifying session. His lap was clean and tidy in lower-grip conditions and from the fifth row of the grid he has his sights on points contention in tomorrow's 44-lap race, which could well be a wet one!
"It was tough because in free practice this morning I had a big problem with my front wheels locking into the first corner and the Bus Stop. It hasn't been great coming straight from practice into qualifying and I was probably a little too cautious under braking."
"It was OK; better to play it cautious, brake early and be safe rather than sorry. I think we're going to be pretty good in the race so we'll just have to see what the weather decides to do tomorrow. We can get some good points from where we'll be starting."
"Obviously by running so early in the session I knew that I would pay the price a little in terms of the later drivers benefiting from the track evolution. The conditions were a little low-grip which made the lap difficult. The weather has made preparation for the race quite challenging but it has been the same for everyone and I think we have done the best job possible to achieve our full programme this morning."
"It looks like the weather will be tricky tomorrow also but we will be flat-out whether it's raining or drying. We have a good strategy for tomorrow and we are determined to do a good job."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting director:
"Today was quite a busy day for us, which I am sure was the case for everyone else. We crammed into one day what we usually achieve in two. From what we can observe, there are lots of different strategies at play with regard to varying levels of downforce, fuel load and tyre choice, since there are more variables this weekend than we usually encounter - not least of all the weather."
"Although we would preferred to have qualified further up the grid, we will have to wait until tomorrow to find out whether the choices we have made for the race will benefit us in the long run."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering director, Honda Racing Development:
"The better weather allowed us to work through most of our revised programme and do the necessary work on set-up and tyre choice. We're disappointed not to be starting further up the grid, and hope our strategy will enable us to improve from here in tomorrow's race."
Chassis: BAR Honda 007-04
Position: 9th (will start 8th)
Lap time: 1:47.978
Chassis: BAR Honda 007-05
Position: 11th (will start 10th)
Lap Time: 1:48.353