Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's Jenson Button will start tomorrow's European Grand Prix from the sixth row of the grid after posting the 12th fastest time in this afternoon's final qualifying session at the NÃ¼rburgring. His team-mate Jacques...
Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's Jenson Button will start tomorrow's European Grand Prix from the sixth row of the grid after posting the 12th fastest time in this afternoon's final qualifying session at the Nürburgring. His team-mate Jacques Villeneuve was disappointed to end the session 17th, which will see him starting the race from the ninth row.
The weather remained cool but dry throughout the day's running. Both drivers spent the morning working through a lot of set-up changes, compromising running time in a bid to find increased grip. This afternoon, Villeneuve emerged first from the pitlane for his decisive run, paying the price for his misfortune in yesterday's first qualifying session. Button joined the track 10th in line midway through the session, benefiting from the improving track conditions.
"I'm pretty happy with my lap considering the difficult start we've had to the weekend. I had planned to be a little more cautious through the Veedol chicane but as this was qualifying I decided to give it some instead! I was pushing hard throughout the lap but we were still struggling for grip so the car was very twitchy."
"It's been a tough weekend so far and we've had to try a lot of things with the set-up to improve for today. The balance isn't too bad now, we're just not quick enough. It would be nice to have some rain tomorrow but I don't think it's going to come. We'll just have to make the most of the strategy and do what we can from the sixth row."
"Today was a bad day. It's never a good thing to go out first for qualifying but on top of that I had a bad lap. The car was sliding and I braked too late into turn one, locked the front wheels and lost a good half-second as a result."
"We changed the set-up just before our qualifying run and it made a bigger difference than expected. We also ran a good race strategy fuel-wise so there were a number of reasons for us being slower, but even without the mistake we would probably only have been 15th today. I'm sure it will be a very tough race tomorrow because we'll be starting well behind where we normally should be and that will hurt us for sure."
David Richards, Team Principal:
"We have been struggling for grip in the dry conditions here all weekend and therefore Jenson's position in qualifying was probably as good as we could have expected. Jacques will understandably be disappointed with his qualifying position, but he usually fares better in the race and is confident with his set-up for tomorrow. Given the number of incidents that have occurred in the F3000 race here today, tomorrow's grand prix could be equally exciting and who knows what might happen?"
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director:
"It has been a difficult two days for the team as the car has clearly not been working well at this track. We had two very busy practice sessions this morning trying to find a suitable set-up and in the end we are substantially happier with the car than we were on Friday. A low-grip circuit like the Nürburgring tends to accentuate any weaknesses with the package and we are now focusing on these areas for the next race and test."
"Jenson's qualifying lap was as good as we could hope for this weekend. Unfortunately, Jacques made a mistake in turn one which compromised his lap. The target for the rest of this weekend is to try to collect some points, which will be quite a tough challenge."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"Jenson did a good job today, considering the fact that he hasn't been able to get the best out of his car so far this weekend. We're satisfied with the reliability of our engines and I believe the package is capable of delivering some points in the race tomorrow."
Chassis: BAR Honda 005-05
Lap time: 1:33.395
Chassis: BAR Honda 005-03
Lap time: 1:34.596