Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve will start tomorrow's French Grand Prix from the sixth row of the grid after posting the 12th fastest time in this afternoon's final qualifying session in Magny-Cours. His team-mate Jenson Button was...
Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve will start tomorrow's French Grand Prix from the sixth row of the grid after posting the 12th fastest time in this afternoon's final qualifying session in Magny-Cours. His team-mate Jenson Button was disappointed to end the session 14th, which puts him on the seventh row for Sunday's race.
The weather remained cool and overcast throughout the day's running, Jacques Villeneuve completing 41 laps in free practice this morning and making up for lost track time yesterday. An engine failure stopped Jenson Button out on track at the end of the second session, confining him to the garage for most of the third session while the engine was changed and further frustrating his set-up work for final qualifying and the race. He rejoined the track with less than three minutes remaining and completed only two timed laps before the decisive session.
Button was second in the running order for today's qualifying session as a result of his misfortune yesterday, when he fell foul of the changing weather conditions. Jacques Villeneuve emerged from the pitlane in 15th place.
"I'm quite pleased with the lap because it was better than I had anticipated. I had good balance and everything worked fine but we got as much grip as we could from the tyres and 12th is where we are today. There were a couple of tenths to be had maybe, because it was a good lap but not a crazy lap, but nothing that would have put us any further up the grid. It's going to be another tough race tomorrow."
"We haven't really had any running time in which to set the car up properly, so the lap was OK considering. I've only done about 40 minutes work out of an available two and a half hours of free practice time as a result of us having to withdraw from yesterday's first session and then an engine problem which put me out for most of the third session this morning."
"Most of the work I have done has been for the race so 14th was the best I could hope for in qualifying. It's never a good thing to be one of the first on track in qualifying, then on my lap I got a bit too much understeer in the first of the three new corners and lost a couple of tenths there, which is quite disappointing. The car generally feels quite good though and I'm confident about our strategy, so we'll just have to wait and see what the race brings now."
David Richards, Team Principal:
"After yesterday's heavily compromised running, the team made a good recovery today, although this was further hampered by Jenson's engine failure, which effectively ruled him out of the second session. As has become the norm recently, we strengthened our position as the number two Bridgestone team after Ferrari. I was pleased to see Jacques back on form, and I think that it is perfectly reasonable to hope for some further points tomorrow from both of our drivers."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director:
"The car is working well at this track so we were able to focus on the evaluation of both of our tyre choices here and are confident in the tyre we have chosen for the race. The team did a good job to get Jenson out for a few laps at the end of the second session today after it failed right at the end of the first session. Although Jenson was hampered by his lack of running this morning we qualified more or less as we expected and are happy to be the second Bridgestone team since we knew it was going to be difficult at what is, in effect, Michelin's home track."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development
"Although our starting position isn't great I think we did okay today. Jenson didn't have much time on track this morning due to the engine change, which obviously put him at a bit of a disadvantage. We have to push to get a good start tomorrow and fight for points."
Chassis: BAR Honda 005-3
Lap time: 1:16.990
Chassis: BAR Honda 005-4
Lap time: 1:17.077