The Honda Racing F1 Team's Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button ended this afternoon's Chinese Grand Prix in 11th and 16th positions respectively. Both drivers were on two-stop strategies and they raced well in hot and humid conditions. As was...
The Honda Racing F1 Team's Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button ended this afternoon's Chinese Grand Prix in 11th and 16th positions respectively. Both drivers were on two-stop strategies and they raced well in hot and humid conditions.
As was the case at Fuji Speedway last weekend, the Honda drivers made great starts. Rubens lined up in 13th place, having gained a position after qualifying when Mark Webber dropped 10 places. He jumped to 10th at Turn 1, while Jenson moved up from 18th to 15th.
For the next five laps Rubens had a fantastic battle with Webber and successfully kept the Red Bull driver at bay until braking for the hairpin on lap six. Jenson, meanwhile, entered his own battle with the other Red Bull driver, David Coulthard, who was on a one-stop strategy.
Rubens had climbed up to eighth place by the time of his first pitstop on lap 19, from which he emerged in 16th place. Jenson then made his first pitstop three laps later and rejoined the race in 18th position.
Despite the drivers completing lap after lap on the limit, the middle stint of the race was quite uneventful for the team. The drivers each gained a place on lap 36 when Heikki Kovalainen suffered a puncture, before Rubens then made his final pitstop on lap 40. He emerged in 12th place and gained one place ahead of the chequered flag to come home 10 seconds behind David Coulthard in 11th position.
Jenson's race was compromised by the fact that he spent so long behind the one-stopping Coulthard early on. He made his final pitstop on lap 43 and finished the race a lap down in 16th position.
Q. An improved performance in the race today followed a good qualifying position yesterday?
A. "It was a better race today than some of our recent races but it is disappointing not to have been able to get into the points. I had a great start and first lap where I overtook three cars to move up to 10th and went flat out for the whole race to try and make up some ground on the people ahead. However our finishing position in 11th is reflective of what the car is capable of and we have to be pleased with making the best out of the package that we have available whilst still being disappointed not to score any points."
Q. A frustrating race for you today. Talk us through it?
A. "The race today was more exciting than the last couple of races have been at least and I had some fun overtaking Sutil and Nakajima into the hairpin at the start. From then I really struggled with the car and from being stuck behind Coulthard for much of the race. After my final pitstop I had a clear stint on the option tyre and the car balance felt reasonable, but I had very poor traction and corner apex understeer. So overall a frustrating race as I wasn't able to find out my true pace on the prime tyre in clean air."
ROSS BRAWN, Team Principal
Q. How did your strategy work out for you today?
A. "We opted for a reasonably aggressive strategy with both cars on two stops, as we had seen through the weekend that the tyres would struggle on heavy fuel. Rubens had a very good start and his pace was good throughout the race. It would have been nice to pick up a point or two but nonetheless we are very pleased that we beat several cars that have been faster than us of late and on merit alone. Jenson's race was compromised in the early stages when he was held up behind a one-stopping David Coutlhard but this was always the risk of an aggressive strategy from the back."
Q. With one race remaining, what are you hoping for in Brazil in two weeks' time?
A. "Even without any developments on the car we have had quite a good weekend here. The team and cars worked well. We have nothing new for Brazil but by working well, as we did here in China, we will be aiming to make the most of every opportunity to pick up one final point before the season draws to a close. Interlagos is a challenging track and it is destined to be an exciting race there, so who knows?"