HONDA MAKES A POINT AT SILVERSTONE Button and Villeneuve race to eighth and tenth in British Grand Prix Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's Jenson Button crossed the line eighth at the British Grand Prix, having started his home race from the back of ...
HONDA MAKES A POINT AT SILVERSTONE
Button and Villeneuve race to eighth and tenth in British Grand Prix
Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's Jenson Button crossed the line eighth at the British Grand Prix, having started his home race from the back of the grid while team-mate Jacques Villeneuve finished in tenth place.
The warm and sunny weather of yesterday continued at Silverstone (air 21, track 31 degrees) for the start of the 60 lap race. Button made a great start from 20th on the grid, moving up five places to 15th position, slotting in behind Sauber's Nick Heidfeld.
The safety car was deployed on lap five due to the headrest of David Coulthard's McLaren coming loose and flying onto the track at turn one. While the Scot was forced to pit for a new headrest the three-stoppers took advantage of the safety car period and began to pit, pushing Button up into 11th place by lap six. Just as the race order was starting to settle chaos ensued as a spectator ran on to the track at Hangar Straight on lap 12 bringing out the track-wide yellow flags for the next three laps and causing the majority of the pack to pit. Due to the congestion in pit lane as 14 cars stopped, Button rejoined 18th.
By the 22nd lap the B*A*R Honda driver was running in 14th place and by lap 42 when he left the track for the last of his two scheduled stops the Briton was running in 12th. Having beaten his team-mate in the pit stops Button rejoined in 11th place and fought his way up to ninth by lap 47. With eight laps to go, Fernando Alonso's Renault stopped on the track, moving Button into a point scoring position. With the Toyota of Da Matta firmly in his sights the Briton was on a mission and began to reel him in, chiselling away at his lap times as the end of the race approached. Despite his determination, Button was unable to overtake the Brazilian, finishing his home Grand Prix just four tenths of a second off Da Matta in eighth place having started 20th on the grid, scoring one well-earned point for himself and the team.
Villeneuve fell back two places to 11th at the start and ran behind Antonio Pizzonia (Jaguar) until lap six when he moved up into eighth position during the first safety car period. The B*A*R Honda driver came in for his first stop on lap 12 during the second round of yellow flags and rejoined the action in tenth place. Villeneuve enjoyed a battle for position with Mark Webber (Jaguar) and by lap 28 the Canadian was still running in tenth place, holding off the Ferrari of Michael Schumacher. The B*A*R Honda racer charged through the field and was up into fifth place when he pitted on lap 41. Villeneuve rejoined in 12th position and six laps later was holding tenth place.
Lap 52 saw the retirement of Alonso, moving Villeneuve up to ninth where he got to within half a second of his team-mate before making a mistake on the penultimate lap and ultimately falling back to tenth place, which is where he remained until the chequered flag.
Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello won the British Grand Prix, followed by Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) and McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen. Ferrari's Michael Schumacher and McLaren's David Coulthard finished fifth and sixth while Cristiano Da Matta (Toyota) and B*A*R Honda's Jenson Button took the final two point scoring positions.
Shuhei Nakamoto - Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"Both our guys drove really well today and we showed that we've made steps to increase our competitiveness. Jenson scored a point having started from the back of the grid - we must carry that determination into the final races of the year."
Jenson Button Position: 8th
"That was a lot of fun! It was always going to be hard from the back but I don't think we could have done any better than that - it was one of the best performances of my career. I had nothing to lose so I went for it from the start. I made up five places on the first lap so I knew I had a car I could fight with. I was starting to work my way through the field when we had to pit under the safety car after the spectator ran on to the track, and I had to queue for a short time behind Jacques. I dropped back down to 18th and had to start all over again which was massively frustrating! I got a bit of oversteer but it went away, the tyres settled down and the balance was good. The car felt great. I had a lot of fun carving my way through the field and it was a great feeling for Jacques and I to be fighting with Michael. I got a good second stop to get back on track ahead of Jacques, then I was really starting to reel in Alonso. With him out of the race I was able to start chasing da Matta but in the end we just ran out of laps. It was a really special race for me today and I'm pleased that we have a point at the end of it because the team have worked really hard to get the car back up there."
Jacques Villeneuve Position: 10th
"Today has been disappointing after the good Saturday we had. The new car is definitely an improvement and the engine worked well from beginning to end, but the car didn't work as well in race trim today which is strange because it's usually the other way round. We fought as hard as we could but today the safety car didn't work in our favour. I wasn't able to finish in the points but at least the team got a Championship point which is very important."