Jenson Button opened the Honda Racing F1 Team's world championship points account in Magny Cours today. He came home in eighth place after maximising the performance of his RA107 throughout the 70-lap French Grand Prix. His team-mate Rubens ...
Jenson Button opened the Honda Racing F1 Team's world championship points account in Magny Cours today. He came home in eighth place after maximising the performance of his RA107 throughout the 70-lap French Grand Prix. His team-mate Rubens Barrichello drove an equally committed race to finish in 11th place.
Both Honda Racing F1 Team drivers had good starts and went on to make up three places each on the opening lap. Jenson, who started on the dirty side of the grid in 12th place, jumped to ninth place, while Rubens improved from 13th to 10th.
Both drivers used the harder of Bridgestone's two tyre compounds for the opening two stints of the race and Jenson drove a very strong middle stint in which he set personal best times lap-after-lap. As a result he was able to leapfrog Rosberg at his second pitstop on lap 50, emerging 3.7 sec ahead of the Williams driver in eighth place.
For the final stint, both drivers switched to the softer compound tyres, on which Jenson lapped faster than both Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella ahead of him. At the chequered flag, he was just 2.3 sec behind the double world champion.
Rubens fought hard to fend off the attentions of Mark Webber, who was just 2.1 sec behind at the chequered flag.
"It was an enjoyable race today and we've shown that the car has improved a lot with the new package. It's nice to have a car which gives me the confidence to push and I'm pleased with my fastest lap time relative to our competitors. This shows that our race pace is improving, although we still need to work on our qualifying pace. Once we can get on top of that, we will be in a much stronger position to compete for points going forward."
"All credit to the whole team today as a faultless race with good pit stops helped me make the most of our strategy. A good weekend and I'm looking forward to another one at the British Grand Prix next week."
"I was quite heavy on fuel for my opening stint and I don't know if that hurt my first set of tyres because I just didn't have any pace in the car. After that, the pace began to improve but unfortunately it was too late to make any further progress up the field."
"We will have to look into the reasons for the problems but on the positive side we can certainly say that the car has improved at this race and it is encouraging to take that step forward. We need to maintain our focus now and work hard to bring further improvements."
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director:
"Jenson drove a very good race which proves that the recent car developments have helped us to improve our race pace. Rubens was not so happy with his brakes and had to drive defensively as for much of the race he had lighter cars behind him. All in all one point is a small reward but well-deserved nonetheless."
Jenson Button: 8th
Fastest Lap: 1:16.770
Rubens Barrichello: 11th
Fastest Lap: 1:17.220