B.A.R HONDA DRIVERS IN QUALIFYING LOTTERY AS WET WEATHER HITS SPA Button and Sato to start Belgian GP from 12th and 15th Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda's Jenson Button and Takuma Sato were unlucky with the timing of the wet and miserable weather ...
B.A.R HONDA DRIVERS IN QUALIFYING LOTTERY AS WET WEATHER HITS SPA
Button and Sato to start Belgian GP from 12th and 15th
Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda's Jenson Button and Takuma Sato were unlucky with the timing of the wet and miserable weather conditions at Spa Francorchamps this afternoon, qualifying in 12th and 15th position respectively to start tomorrow's Belgian Grand Prix from the sixth and eighth row.
There was no sign of the overnight rain and fog lifting this morning as the teams and drivers arrived at Spa to prepare for qualifying. The first practice session of the day was abandoned as reduced visibility meant that it was not considered safe for the medical helicopter to fly. The drivers were allowed to use extreme wet weather tyres in the second Saturday session, which was shortened to just 15 minutes.
In the limited second wet session Button and Sato covered six laps each and set the seventh and ninth fastest times respectively. The session was red-flagged two minutes from the end due to Minardi's Gianmaria Bruni crashing off in the wet.
As always, the drivers had to qualify in race set-up, so the gamble for the teams this afternoon was whether to stick with a wet set-up to cope with today's weather conditions or switch to a dry set-up in anticipation of a dry race tomorrow.
Button finished 10th in pre-qualifying so was the 11th driver out on track for qualifying proper. He took to the track just over half way through the session, as the track started to dry off slightly. During his flying lap the Briton suffered with lack of grip, clocking a 2m00.237s, finally qualifying his B.A.R Honda 006 12th on the grid on the sixth row.
Having set the 11th fastest time in pre-qualifying this afternoon, B.A.R Honda's Sato was the 10th man on track for his final qualifying run, just before team-mate Button. The Japanese driver struggled with understeer and low grip, setting a lap time of 2m01.813s. Sato finally qualified his B.A.R Honda 006 15th on the grid and will start tomorrow's race from row eight.
Conditions remained wet and chilly (track 20, air 18 degrees) as Jarno Trulli (Renault) took pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix, followed by Ferrari's Michael Schumacher and Renault's Fernando Alonso. McLaren's David Coulthard, Giancarlo Fisichella (Sauber) and Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) will line up fourth, fifth and sixth on the grid while Mark Webber (Jaguar) and Sauber's Felipe Massa will start the race from seventh and eighth position respectively.
Jenson Button Position: 12th
"It's disappointing to be 12th on the grid as it has been a very long time since we have had a poor qualifying session. We made the wrong tyre choice due to the standing water that was on the track and this cost us in our performance today. However, the car is strong and we are confident for the race, so with the mixed grid I think we can all look forward to an interesting Belgian Grand Prix tomorrow."
Takuma Sato Position: 15th
"I'm disappointed with today's result. The rain stopped during the session and the lap and because we had extreme wet tyres on, they overheated quite quickly due to the conditions, so I had very poor grip by the end of the lap. The grid is quite mixed-up for the race tomorrow. We have good straight-line speed, so we have an opportunity to achieve a solid two-car points finish, continue to challenge Renault and maintain our third position in the Championship."
Shuhei Nakamoto -- Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development
"That was clearly not a good session for us but we have been fast up to this point so I am confident we can do a good job tomorrow."