Canadian GP: Honda race notes

B.A.R HONDA'S JENSON BUTTON RACES TO FOURTH PLACE IN CANADIAN GP Button finishes fourth in Montreal while Sato retires on lap 49 Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda's Jenson Button drove a solid race to secure fourth place in this afternoon's Canadian...

Button finishes fourth in Montreal while Sato retires on lap 49

Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda's Jenson Button drove a solid race to secure fourth place in this afternoon's Canadian Grand Prix. Honda-powered team-mate Takuma Sato, who started from the pit lane, battled hard and had fought his way up into 10th position when his race ended on lap 49 due to an engine failure.

Button got away smoothly and held P2 off the line despite pressure from Renault's Jarno Trulli. Seconds later the Italian surprised everyone by pulling off the track with a problem, allowing team-mate Fernando Alonso to move up and slot in behind Button. Pole-sitter Ralf Schumacher pulled out a 4.4 second lead by lap 13 as Button came in for his first of three scheduled pit stops at the same time as Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams).

By lap 20 the B.A.R Honda driver was back up into second place as all the front-runners had pitted. Button showed great pace during his second stint, pulling away from the Ferrari of Michael Schumacher as the German enjoyed a fascinating battle for third position with Montoya.

Lap 31 saw Button pit for the second time, again on the same lap as Montoya. After a 7.6 second stop the Briton was slow to pull away and almost stalled, rejoining the action in fifth place behind Alonso. At half-distance (lap 35) the Ferraris, Ralf Schumacher, Button and Alonso were all in contention for the win.

Button and Montoya once again pitted in unison on lap 49, the Briton now lying in third as Alonso had retired and Barrichello pitted four laps earlier. Due to superb work in the pits Button beat the Columbian back to the track, rejoining in fourth position behind Barrichello.

With a podium finish in sight, the Honda-powered driver continued to hold off Montoya and pushed hard to catch the Brazilian during his final stint but ultimately had to settle for fourth place.

Sato, who started from the pit lane in the T car and was fuelled for two stops, was held up by the second corner incident involving the Jaguars and McLaren's David Coulthard but still managed to slot in behind the Scot in P14. As the three-stoppers pitted Honda-powered Sato moved up into 10th place by lap 22.

The Japanese driver came in for his first stop on lap 24 and rejoined in 13th position behind Coulthard. With a point in sight Sato battled hard and was up into 11th place behind Toyota's Olivier Panis by lap 33 as Massa and Coulthard pitted ahead of him.

On lap 43 the Japanese ace tried an overtaking manoeuvre on Panis at the hairpin but spun, just missing the Toyota driver. Sato continued and pitted two laps earlier than scheduled for fuel, tyres and a new front wing, rejoining in 11th place, just two tenths of a second off Panis. The B.A.R Honda driver got past the Frenchman on lap 47 and was on a charge to catch ninth-placed Coulthard. However, just one lap later Sato's fight for a points finish was over as his engine failed.

In pretty much perfect weather conditions Michael Schumacher won the 70 lap Canadian Grand Prix, the first driver ever to win the same race seven times. Williams' Ralf Schumacher joined his brother on the podium along with Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello. B.A.R Honda's Jenson Button, Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) and Giancarlo Fisichella (Sauber) finished fourth, fifth and sixth while McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen and Toyota's Cristiano Da Matta took the final point scoring positions.

Jenson Button Position: 4th

"Five points are very important but I'm obviously disappointed that I'm not on the podium here because that's what we felt was achievable. I got a reasonably good start and managed to keep the Renaults behind me but I had oversteer all the way through the first stint. We changed the car at the first stop to give more understeer, which helped the balance slightly, but we couldn't make a big enough adjustment and we had low grip throughout the race."

"I bogged down at the second pitstop after the anti-stall kicked in as I released the clutch. Our pace was disappointing compared to the Ferraris and we certainly didn't expect to be behind a Williams today. I guess we just have to look at what went wrong and fix it for Indianapolis."

Takuma Sato Position: DNF

"We came to Montreal with high hopes but have come away with another disappointing result. We changed our plan this morning so that I would start from the pit lane on a two-stop strategy, which we thought was going to be strong. I had to back off on the pitlane exit because of the second corner incident and lost a lot of time there, however I was able to move up to 14th."

"I tried really hard to make up places but the car was so heavy on fuel and we just didn't have the pace so it was difficult. Towards the end of the race we were targeting a point but then another engine failure ended my race - something we have to get on top of for Indianapolis. We cannot change anything as such but we will have to work closely with the engineers."

Shuhei Nakamoto - Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:

"Not a good day for us today but it says a great deal about our season to date that we are unhappy even though Jenson finished fourth. For Takuma to lose another engine is very disappointing. We only have to wait one week to Indy where we will have the chance to fight back onto the podium."


Be part of something big

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