British GP: Honda Saturday notes

Jacques Villeneuve qualified his Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda in ninth position for tomorrow's grid of the British Grand Prix to start the race as the leading Honda-powered driver while his team-mate Olivier Panis will start from 13th place. DHL...

Jacques Villeneuve qualified his Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda in ninth position for tomorrow's grid of the British Grand Prix to start the race as the leading Honda-powered driver while his team-mate Olivier Panis will start from 13th place. DHL Jordan Honda's Takuma Sato and Giancarlo Fisichella will line up in 14th and 17th positions respectively.

Jordan Honda's Takuma Sato and the B.A.R Honda pairing of Olivier Panis and Jacques Villeneuve were the first of the four Honda-powered drivers out on track for today's qualifying hour at Silverstone, having waited over 20 minutes along with the majority of the paddock, followed almost immediately by the Jordan Honda of Giancarlo Fisichella.

B.A.R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis both set their best lap on their third of four runs, Villeneuve finishing the day as the fastest Honda powered driver by setting a best time of 1m21.130s, which was over a second faster than his first outing, finally placing him in ninth position on the fifth row of the grid. Panis will start from 13th on the grid, setting a best time of 1m21.274s and improving on his first attack by almost a second and a half.

Jordan Honda's Takuma Sato finished in 14th position with a best time of 1m21.337s, out qualifying his team-mate for the third time this season. The Japanese rookie had to abort his second run and return to the pits due to a faulty nosecone, but went on to set his fastest time on his third of four outings, improving on his initial timed lap by five tenths of a second. Giancarlo Fisichella was the last of the Honda quartet to take to the track, but his initial attack was shortlived as he was forced to pull over on his first flying lap due to engine failure. The Italian driver ran back to the pits and swapped to the spare car which had already been set up for him, and with just over twenty minutes of the session left, Fisichella went back out and managed to complete three more runs. Fisichella's best lap of 1m21.636s was an improvement of five tenths of a second on his initial time, placing the Italian 17th on the grid.

It remained cloudy with an ambient temperature of 17 degrees at Silverstone as Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) snatched pole position from Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) and his brother Ralf (Williams) will start from third and fourth positions while the McLaren duo of Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard complete the top six positions for tomorrow's race.

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

"The mid-field is really close and a couple of tenths could have made all the difference in qualifying today. We can't feel too discouraged by our grid positions as it was clearly a very competitive session. Unfortunately Giancarlo suffered from engine failure which meant he lost a lot of track time. We need to study the data and the engine itself to identify the exact cause. We hope for good reliability in the race tomorrow to try and pick up what we can."

Jacques Villeneuve

"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, mainly because the Bridgestone tyres are better suited."

Olivier Panis

"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."

Takuma Sato

"It was a tough qualifying for the team. I had a problem with the nose on my second run and the team is investigating the reason. My first run wasn't bad but then the car had a lot of nervousness in high speed corners. The track temperatures were rising all the time and the tyres were graining, so I lost grip and couldn't improve on my time. I think I did a 100% job but another tenth could have put me a couple of places higher."

Giancarlo Fisichella

"Obviously this was a terrible day for me, compared to yesterday. We had problems this morning and I lost the first session and most of the second session, doing less than 20 minutes on the track. During my first qualifying run, the engine went, and I am very disappointed. I went out to continue the session in the T-car, but it did not give quite the same feeling. I hope there will be no more problems tomorrow and that weather conditions will be wet."

-honda-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Williams , Jordan