SEVENTH PLACE FOR HONDA IN FRIDAY QUALIFYING Villeneuve sets seventh fastest time at Interlagos Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve finished seventh fastest in today's first qualifying session for the Brazilian Grand Prix while Jenson...
SEVENTH PLACE FOR HONDA IN FRIDAY QUALIFYING
Villeneuve sets seventh fastest time at Interlagos
Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve finished seventh fastest in today's first qualifying session for the Brazilian Grand Prix while Jenson Button finished 20th due to spinning off the track.
Many of the drivers struggled to stay on the track and record quick lap times around the extremely wet Interlagos circuit during morning free practice, as there was no sign of the rain letting up. Button set the third fastest time of 1m28.903s while Villeneuve set the 15th fastest time of 1m48.359s. The Canadian lost twenty minutes of track time while the team worked to fix an electrical problem on his car. When Villeneuve returned to the track the weather conditions had worsened and he was unable to improve upon his initial time.
The order for first qualifying is dictated by the 2003 drivers' championship so Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren) was the first driver out on track this afternoon as the rain continued to fall. Button went out 10th, almost half way through the session, and just after starting his quick lap spun off as he struggled with oversteer. The Brit aquaplaned into a polystyrene braking board and damaged his rear wing, so returned to the garage without recording a time. After a short delay as the debris from his team-mate's incident was cleared from the track, Villeneuve followed Sauber's Nick Heidfeld out onto the circuit. The Canadian had a good run, setting a fifth fastest time of 1m25.672s. Villeneuve was finally placed seventh, having been pushed down two places as the final two drivers set their time on a drying track.
The drivers will start in reverse order of today's times for final qualifying tomorrow, hence Button and Villeneuve will be out on track to complete their one flying lap in first and 14th place respectively.
Jaguar's Mark Webber topped the times with a fastest lap of 1m23.111s around the 4.309km/2.677miles circuit, followed by Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello. The McLaren pairing of Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard finished third and fourth while Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) and Olivier Panis (Toyota) complete the top six positions.
Shuhei Nakamoto - Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development
"Jacques put in a good lap this afternoon and did well to set a competitive time, despite the difficult track conditions. Jenson had a tough time which is a shame because he's done a good job today as he showed this morning by setting the third fastest time. Tomorrow should be very interesting for us because we've got one driver going out at the start of the session and one towards the end, and with the unpredictable weather that's maybe not such a bad position to be in. Only time will tell."
Jacques Villeneuve: Position: 7th
"I'm very happy with the lap. This morning we didn't run when the track was at its best because we had a problem and spent a lot of time in the garage. The same thing happened in Melbourne but it seems to work out for me in qualy so maybe I should just skip Friday mornings! The conditions were good so there was no problem there. A few of the drivers felt it was too dangerous to run this afternoon but we're here to put on a show and I think it was the right thing to do. After today though I'm sure everyone will see the logic in having more than one wet tyre option."
Jenson Button: Position: 20th
"It was a very eventful session for me! Quite scary really! I had a lot more oversteer than this morning and the car was quite snappy coming onto the main straight at the start of the lap. Then I had a big moment coming out of turn five when I put a wheel on the white line. I tried to catch it but with such a damp track it was impossible and I took out some trackside markers in the process. That obviously damaged the rear wing and with that hanging off I had no option but to abandon the lap. Despite the conditions today you still have to continue to push. The problem is that you don't really know where the limit is. The track was drier than this morning but there was still a lot of standing water. We definitely need more than one set of wet tyres for these conditions."