Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's troubled Hungarian Grand Prix weekend was brought to a disappointing conclusion in this afternoon's race after Jenson Button finished outside the points in 10th and Jacques Villeneuve was forced to retire with a...
Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's troubled Hungarian Grand Prix weekend was brought to a disappointing conclusion in this afternoon's race after Jenson Button finished outside the points in 10th and Jacques Villeneuve was forced to retire with a hydraulic leak.
The team's qualifying woes had relegated the drivers to 14th and 16th on the grid for the start of the race, leaving them with a lot of work to do at the notoriously challenging Hungaroring. Nevertheless, Jacques in particular demonstrated that he was up to the task when he made a fantastic start and gained six places during the first lap, putting him well within points contention.
Jenson Button suffered a bad start and then encountered a differential problem halfway through the race, which hampered his progress. Nonetheless, he delivered a very solid drive and for the majority of the race he was the fastest Bridgestone runner.
"I got a pretty bad start and Jacques came flying past me, so there must have been a big difference in the launch starts we got. On top of that I didn't make the best of the second corner; I was round the outside and then Ralf spun off and I almost hit him. I finally got past Frentzen and Verstappen and then the car was working reasonably well and I was making good progress, but then I had a problem with the differential failing. This made the car very oversteery and difficult to drive so, all in all, not a great race. Obviously we now need to push very hard for points in the last three races."
"We knew we would be much better in race set-up - and we were. It went really well at the start and I was able to make up six places in the first lap, despite having a lot of fuel on board, so things were looking good for a point or two. The track was very dusty but my car was working well. We knew for a couple of laps that things were starting to go wrong and I had reports that I was losing hydraulic pressure. In the end I had no choice but to retire. It's not a good day but we just have to continue working hard. There are three races to go and, who knows, maybe we can get a good result by the end of the year."
David Richards, Team Principal:
"In spite of the disappointment of Jacques' retirement after such a great start, and Jenson finishing outside the points, we still have to remain positive. Our qualifying strategy was borne out in the race but nonetheless, it's becoming very clear that the latter part of this year is going to be very hard-fought for fifth place in the Championship."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director:
"This is a very frustrating end to a difficult weekend. Jacques had an excellent start, making up six places by the end of the first lap. He was making good progress on his two- stop strategy and the car was working much better in the race as we expected. Shortly before his first stop, we started to get an indication that there was a hydraulic leak and we had to retire the car. We do not yet know the source of the problem but this will be thoroughly investigated."
"By contrast, Jenson's start was very poor, his starting point on the grid having very low grip which left him down in 17th. Despite this, he was able to make good progress, again on a two-stop race. He was also handicapped by a differential fault, which required us to run in failsafe mode. Despite this he ran a very strong race, and throughout the latter part of the race he was the fastest Bridgestone runner, but unfortunately finished out of the points."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"Jenson did well to finish 10th under the circumstances and it was encouraging to see him putting in some competitive lap times. Jacques made a great start and he was looking good so to be forced out of the action so early was really frustrating. We're now focusing all our efforts on the next test and race in Italy."
Chassis: BAR Honda 005-6
Position: DNF (14 laps)
Best lap time: 1:25.278
Chassis: BAR Honda 005-4
Best lap time: 1:23.376