Jacques Villeneuve's German Grand Prix weekend got back on track after he put his B*A*R Honda 005 13th on the grid for the start of tomorrow's race. His team-mate Jenson Button experienced what he described as a "terrible" final qualifying session...
Jacques Villeneuve's German Grand Prix weekend got back on track after he put his B*A*R Honda 005 13th on the grid for the start of tomorrow's race. His team-mate Jenson Button experienced what he described as a "terrible" final qualifying session after he struggled with oversteer throughout the lap. He finished 17th today and will line up on the ninth row of the grid tomorrow.
Jacques failed to set a timed lap in yesterday's first qualifying session after he spun his car at the first corner and was forced to abort the lap. He paid the price by being the second driver out on track for today's crucial run when track conditions are typically less than optimum, particularly as the Hockenheimring is basking in scorching heat.
Jenson emerged from the pit lane ninth in line, but after a promising warm-up in which the car demonstrated top-10 potential, the track temperature soared and he was surprised to find that it had picked up too much oversteer. A mistake in the penultimate corner cost him dearly and compounded a disappointing qualifying session.
"The car is lively and the balance is not bad so I could push hard today. The hardest thing was to get temperature into the tyres for one lap because they take around five or six laps to really start working. I lost some time in the last two corners when I picked up a bit of understeer and the tyres grained a little. We had the choice of a tyre that was better on one lap for qualifying but which we couldn't race well, or a tyre that would get better with the race. We chose the latter and I think we'll see the benefit of that tomorrow."
"It was a pretty terrible qualifying and very disappointing because the car is strong here. I had too much oversteer throughout the lap and the car was just skating around at the back. Then in the second to last corner I made a big mistake when I got a lot of oversteer and ended up running off the circuit. It's strange because we haven't made any changes from warm-up, when the car was quick and we still had more to come. I think that the track temperature increasing by six degrees probably had a big influence as that can really unsettle the handling. We should have been inside the top 10 today so this has compromised us for sure, but I'm confident that we'll be better in the race. I had a good race at Silverstone against all the odds so I'll have to pull another one out of the bag here tomorrow now!"
David Richards, Team Principal:
"On the face of it one would assume we're not too happy with today's qualifying positions, however our focus throughout the weekend has been on race set-up at a circuit where overtaking has historically been a strong feature. I'm totally confident that the tyre choice and fuel load that determine our strategy, together with the top speed that we demonstrated in qualifying, stand us in very good stead tomorrow."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director:
"The car and engine are working well and we focused on race set-up today. Although we are having difficulty in making the tyres work for a single qualifying lap, over a run the car is very consistent and we have good top speeds. Since we made our tyre choice for the race rather than qualifying, we were expecting this afternoon to be tough, although we still hoped to have both cars in the top 12. Jacques dropped a couple of tenths towards the end of his lap but we are reasonably happy with his position. Jenson found that his car balance had changed considerably from warm-up and made a big mistake at the end of the lap, which dropped him down the grid. We now have to concentrate on getting the best out of the car in tomorrow's race."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"Clearly both drivers were pushing really hard today. As Jenson proved at Silverstone, we can challenge for points from any qualifying position, so I'm looking forward to scoring more points in tomorrow's race."
Chassis: BAR Honda 005-3
Lap time: 1:17.090
Chassis: BAR Honda 005-4
Lap time: 1:18.085