The rain which threatened to frustrate today's qualifying session never materialised and Silverstone remained cool but dry throughout the crucial 60 minutes. Yesterday, Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda driver Jacques Villeneuve expressed some doubts...
The rain which threatened to frustrate today's qualifying session never materialised and Silverstone remained cool but dry throughout the crucial 60 minutes. Yesterday, Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda driver Jacques Villeneuve expressed some doubts about how the BAR004 would qualify in the dry but he was pleasantly surprised to finish 9th, matching his best position of the season. Olivier Panis went into qualifying with a less than optimum set-up after a series of set-backs in free practice this morning. Despite the frustration weighing heavily on the Frenchman, he attacked the session with characteristic determination and posted a fastest lap that was only a tenth away from that of his team-mate.
"I'm quite pleased with 9th today. The car has been working well all weekend in wet and dry conditions and, generally, it seems to suit Silverstone's high speed-corners. My quick lap wasn't as good as it could have been because the gearbox didn't work properly on some downshifts and I lost a little time. We're usually a little better off in the race so I think we'll be OK tomorrow now we've seen that the car can be good here whatever the conditions. I think we would be slightly more competitive in the wet though."
"As was the case yesterday, it's been another difficult day for me. I had two different problems in practice this morning, an electrical problem in the first session and an engine problem in the second. As a result, I was only able to achieve two fast laps and I didn't have the chance to work on a proper dry set-up. During qualifying, I did my utmost to put the car as high as possible but I was missing a lot of track time. I'm not satisfied with 13th position at all, even though I'm only a tenth from Jacques. On the other hand, two positive aspects remain. One is the superb effort from my mechanics throughout today's problems, the other is that - once again - we have at least managed to get one car inside the top 10. Now we have to find a way to achieve that with both cars. As always, we have to put in some hours with the engineers now to see how we can improve things for tomorrow."
David Richards, Team Principal
"Whilst I acknowledge that our objective was to qualify both cars in the top 10, it was still a very respectable performance by both drivers and another small step in the right direction. Jacques has been on the pace all weekend and always looked like qualifying in a strong position but Olivier has had a series of problems and did a great job to record a time so close to Jacques'. Our race performance has always been stronger than qualifying so we have every reason to feel very positive for tomorrow."