Jacques Villeneuve will lead the charge for Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda in the team's home grand prix tomorrow after posting the ninth-fastest time in today's final qualifying session. His team-mate Jenson Button was less fortunate after he ran wide...
Jacques Villeneuve will lead the charge for Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda in the team's home grand prix tomorrow after posting the ninth-fastest time in today's final qualifying session. His team-mate Jenson Button was less fortunate after he ran wide on the exit of Becketts and hit the kerb heavily, which led to a push-rod failure.
Villeneuve and Button left the garage eighth and 12th respectively for their decisive one-lap qualifying runs, the weather remaining bright and sunny during the one-hour session. Wet weather is forecast for tomorrow's race, which Jacques will start from the fifth row of the grid whilst Jenson will be forced to play catch-up from the back row.
"I'm very happy. Today's qualifying was much better. Normally this year we have had a good car for the race but couldn't qualify the car, but this weekend we seem to have both. We had an engine failure at the end of the first session this morning but the team deserve a lot of credit for turning around the engine change so quickly. It gave me five minutes' running at the end of the second session, which made a big difference for qualifying."
"They did an amazing job and this shows they're one of the best in the pit lane. The car performed well on one lap and it was also working well this morning on the long runs, so I'm feeling confident for the race. We changed our tyre option overnight, which was a big help. Even though we are still behind Ferrari, the gap is not as big as it has been in previous races. Overall, I'm feeling optimistic for tomorrow."
"I'm very disappointed because the car was working so well. We changed a few things from warm-up and the high-speed corners felt great. We had a lot more grip and more speed through Copse and Becketts. You always have to push hard in qualifying so I thought I would push it a bit harder through the last corner before the Hangar Straight. I ran a couple of inches wide, hit the kerb at a different angle, there was a loud bang and I couldn't continue. We now know that the front left push-rod failed under the load which is surprising because we have done a lot of work on load-bearing in testing."
"It's obviously a great shame because this is my home race and the new car package has been working very well, so this was a good chance to have a strong qualifying position. We could have been right up there but instead we will be starting from 20th tomorrow. I'm sure we can salvage something though. At the Nurburgring we saw Heidfeld finish eighth after starting from the back of the grid, so all is not lost. We just have a lot of work to do tomorrow."
David Richards, Team Principal:
"Jacques' lap was excellent. Both he and his team have worked hard all weekend to extract the maximum from the car, and P9 bodes well for the race. Jenson's suspension failure is highly frustrating for everyone as he was also on a roll this weekend. But who knows, tomorrow it might rain and he might not be in such a bad position after all."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director:
"The track conditions were tricky this morning with the gusty conditions making it difficult to find a good set-up. Despite the engine problem on Jacques' car, he was generally happier with his track time than Jenson. We were able to find a good balance for both cars in warm-up and Jacques put in an excellent lap to a well-deserved ninth place."
"Unfortunately, Jenson ran slightly wide on the exit of Becketts, hit the kerb rather hard and the front-left push-rod failed. For Silverstone we bring specially-reinforced components and we are surprised that we have managed to exceed even the enormous loads that these parts are tested to. We are happy that Jacques has a good strategy for the race so we now have to think about how we are going to get the best for Jenson from the back of the grid."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"It's good to see Jacques qualify in the top ten despite the fact that he lost a lot of track time this morning due to an engine failure. The team worked fast to get him out at the end of the second free practice session, and Jacques did a good job this afternoon."
Chassis: BAR Honda 005-3
Lap time: 1:22.591
Chassis: BAR Honda 005-4
No timed lap