British GP: Honda race notes

Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve crossed the line in fourth position in today's British Grand Prix and team-mate Olivier Panis finished right behind him in fifth place. DHL Jordan Honda's Giancarlo Fisichella finished seventh while ...

Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve crossed the line in fourth position in today's British Grand Prix and team-mate Olivier Panis finished right behind him in fifth place. DHL Jordan Honda's Giancarlo Fisichella finished seventh while Takuma Sato (Jordan Honda) retired from the action on lap 50 due to engine failure.

B.A.R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve had a good start and an uneventful first few laps, remaining in ninth place off the grid. He gained a place when Finland's Mika Salo span out of the race and lost it shortly afterwards when Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) passed him on lap six. The Ferrari driver was having an inspired race, cutting through the field having started from the back of the grid due to stalling on the formation lap. As the rain started to fall the majority of the field came into the pits, Villeneuve following suit on lap 13 and rejoining the race on intermediate tyres, still in ninth place. The Canadian benefited from the exit of Heinz Harald Frentzen (Arrows), moving up into eighth position on lap 21. The B.A.R Honda driver continued to push and by lap 26 he was in fifth place having overtaken the Renaults of Jenson Button and Jarno Trulli and the Arrows of Enrique Bernoldi. Seven laps later Villeneuve moved into fourth place as Ralf Schumacher (Williams) endured a lengthy pit stop. As the rain stopped and the track started to dry out, the pack began another round of pit stops, the Canadian coming in on lap 39 and remaining in fourth place as the pit stop sequence was completed. Villeneuve continued to put in a solid performance for the remainder of the race, matching the lap times of Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) ahead of him. He went on to finish the race in fourth position from ninth on the grid, scoring three hard-earned points for himself and B.A.R Honda.

B.A.R Honda's Olivier Panis got away well and by the end of the first lap he had moved up two places to 11th position behind Sauber's Nick Heidfeld. By lap five Panis had dropped back to 13th as he was overtaken by Bernoldi and Barrichello, the Ferrari quickly pulling away and continuing to slice its way through the field. By lap nine Panis had caught Heidfeld, overtaking him for 12th place and pitting two laps later. Panis remained in 12th place as the first round of pit stops were completed and by lap 27 the B.A.R driver had made up four places and moved up into eighth position, benefiting from the pit stops of some of the frontrunners and the departure of Frentzen. Due to the pit stops of Ralf Schumacher and Sauber's Felipe Massa, Panis was up into fifth by lap 38, coming in three laps later for his second pit stop. The Frenchman rejoined in fifth place and drove hard for the remaining 22 laps, crossing the line in fifth from 13th on the grid and scoring a valuable two points. The five points scored by the B.A.R Honda drivers today is the highest number of points scored by the team in one race in its four seasons in Formula One.

Jordan Honda's Giancarlo Fisichella made up one place at the start and at the end of the first lap he was in 16th position. By lap five the Italian driver had fallen back to 18th place, having been overtaken by Mark Webber (Minardi) and Frentzen. Fisichella moved up one place to 17th on lap nine as Webber span out of the race and then gained a further two places as the rain started to fall and most drivers began to pit. Fisichella pitted on lap 13 from 15th position and ended up in 16th place as the pit stop sequence was completed. He drove hard and by lap 24 Fisichella had made up another three places to 13th by overtaking Heidfeld and Irvine and also benefiting from Coulthard's spin. The Italian stayed out until lap 40 and managed to gain seven places to sixth position as the rest of the field carried out their pit stops.

Fisichella rejoined the action in seventh place and despite fighting hard and consistently lapping two tenths of a second faster than sixth-placed Heidfeld, Fisichella just missed out on the points and crossed the line in seventh position having started 17th on the grid.

His Jordan Honda team-mate Takuma Sato fell back one place at the start to 15th position and on lap eight he was overtaken by Jaguar's Eddie Irvine, but just four laps later Sato snatched 15th position back from Irvine. The Japanese rookie had to stay out on dry tyres while his team-mate pitted for intermediates and he fell back to 18th having spun on the wet track. Sato came in for his first pit stop on lap 15 and rejoined in 18th place, moving up four places to 14th by the end of lap 25 as Frentzen, Salo and Irvine retired from the action and Coulthard span off the track. The Jordan Honda driver had gained a further two places by lap 29 as the field began to pit again. Sato came in for his second pit stop from 11th position on lap 38 and eight laps later moved up to 10th place due to McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen's departure. The Japanese driver was holding ninth place when he was forced out of the action on lap 52 due to engine failure.

Silverstone endured wet and humid weather conditions (17 degrees, 88% humidity) as Ferrari's Michael Schumacher scored his 60th victory, finishing ahead of team-mate Rubens Barrichello and the Williams of Juan Pablo Montoya. The B.A.R Hondas of Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis finished fourth and fifth while Sauber's Nick Heidfeld completes the point scoring positions.

Shuhei Nakamoto -- Race and Test Team Manager, Honda Racing Development

"Clearly this is a great result today and we're very happy to score some points with B.A.R. I think the team did a very good job in difficult conditions and deserved it. All four Honda-powered drivers fought really hard today and I'm sorry that Takuma was unable to finish due to engine failure. I thought Giancarlo drove really well to come back from 17th on the grid. One of the things I'm most encouraged by is our competitive lap times towards the end of the race. I want this result to drive us all forward to improve our competitiveness for the remainder of the season."

Jacques Villeneuve Position: 4th

"It has been a long time coming but today's result is fantastic for the team. It was a very tricky race and to get both cars home in the points in those conditions is great for everybody. I've had a very good three days here; we just kept improving the car throughout every session. For the first time this season, we were confident that for once we didn't have to rely on luck to be in with a chance of a points finish. We were actually competitive enough and the car and circuit really suited each other. We had two great pitstops and made the right tyre choices in very tricky conditions. The whole team worked incredibly well in the race so this result is a credit to the team."

Olivier Panis Position: 5th

"I'm very, very happy. This is a fantastic day for me and for the team, especially as this was our home Grand Prix. I'm really pleased that we were able to put on a good show for all the staff in the grandstands - this result is exactly what they needed. From 13th position it was a hell of a fight because of the weather conditions, but I had a lot of fun along the way. After all the problems I had on Friday and Saturday, the team reacted with great professionalism and determination. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Honda for all their hard work because we have great respect for what they are trying to do. Sometimes these things takes time but it's like good food - you need to wait. Last but not least, a special thank you to Bridgestone, whose continued efforts paid off especially well in today's conditions. I consider this a good step forward for the team but let's keep focus and remember that we have a lot of work ahead of us."

Giancarlo Fisichella Position: 7th

"Seventh place is alright. It would have been fantastic to score points today. I drove well, however with hard dry tyres I had low grip levels, it was slippery and the car was nervous. It was not easy but I did my best and the team did very well too. Starting from 17th today was our problem."

Takuma Sato Position: DNF

"Today's result is a big shame, particularly because we were looking promising in warm-up. When it began to rain quite hard, I really wanted to come back to the pits to change tyres, but unfortunately Giancarlo was already there and the team told me to stay out. Those were critical laps and I lost a lot of time. After we changed to intermediates, the handling was very good and I continued to get a good run on dry tyres. But then sadly the engine just blew up. That was frustrating, but there you go. Next race!"

Round 11 of the FIA Formula One World Championship is the French Grand Prix on Sunday 21 July.


Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Minardi , Jordan