HONDA HAMPERED BY WET START TO WEEKEND Button and Villeneuve finish 14th and 20th in First Qualifying Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's Jenson Button and Jacques Villeneuve finished 14th and 20th in today's first qualifying session for the Canadian ...
HONDA HAMPERED BY WET START TO WEEKEND
Button and Villeneuve finish 14th and 20th in First Qualifying
Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's Jenson Button and Jacques Villeneuve finished 14th and 20th in today's first qualifying session for the Canadian Grand Prix.
Many of the drivers struggled to find grip during this morning's free practice session as the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve is always dusty and dirty at the start of the weekend, as it is only used once a year. The weather also played havoc as rain started to fall 20 minutes in to the session, becoming heavier throughout the hour. Many drivers took advantage of these conditions to try out different tyres and set ups in preparation for a possible wet qualifying session.
Jacques Villenueve completed 19 laps this morning, setting a best time of 1m18.716s and finishing 13th at the end of the session. Button's car had a sensor problem after his installation lap, so he lost a lot of track time. However, the Briton was out on track for the final 10 minutes and finished 18th overall with a time of 1m28.872s, covering 14 laps.
The conditions remained wet and cool (16 degrees) for the First Qualifying session this afternoon. McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen kicked off the proceedings as he is still leading the drivers' championship. Button was out on track 10th in the running order, 25 minutes into the session. The heavy rain had just started to fall again and there was a lot of standing water on the track. Despite aquaplaning down the back straight, the B*A*R Honda driver set the seventh quickest time of 1m38.109s.
Villeneuve was out on track 14th to complete his one flying lap on an increasingly treacherous circuit. The Canadian was quick during the first and second sectors but spun off at the last corner. Villeneuve managed to regain control of his car and went on to set a 14th fastest time of 1m44.702s. Button and Villeneuve were finally placed 14th and 20th after all the qualifying runs were completed. For final qualifying Villeneuve and Button will be out on track in first and seventh position respectively, as today's times dictate the running order for Final qualifying on Saturday.
Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello set a fastest lap of 1m30.925s around the 4.361km/2.709miles circuit, followed by team-mate Michael Schumacher and Sauber's Nick Heidfeld. Ralph Firman (Jordan) and Fernando Alonso (Renault) finished fourth and fifth while Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren) completes the top six.
Shuhei Nakamoto - Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"Both drivers pushed hard today in difficult weather conditions. It's a shame Jacques spun at the end of his lap as he was looking good through the first and second sectors. Hopefully we'll be able to show how competitive we are in Final Qualifying tomorrow."
Jenson Button Position: 14th:
"It was pretty manic out there because there was so much standing water and we weren't able to generate the tyre grip. My main objective was to get the car to the finish and it was a fairly tidy lap under the circumstances. We haven't yet had the conditions to be able to weigh up where we are, but it looks like it's going to be a wet weekend so it's certainly going to be interesting. It's good to be back in the car after Monaco. I haven't had any dry running yet but I'm feeling good."
Jacques Villeneuve Position: 20th:
"It wasn't a bad lap for these conditions. It's very wet and I just got caught out at the end there. Today's session doesn't really count so all we can do is push hard and see where the limit is. I guess I found the limit in the last corner but the crowd seemed to enjoy it! Tyre-wise we seem OK in the wet, so I'll be hoping for more of the same conditions for final qualifying tomorrow."