Hungarian GP: Honda Friday notes

TWO HONDA-POWERED CARS IN TOP SIX Fisichella and Sato finish fifth and sixth in Hungarian Free Practice Giancarlo Fisichella (DHL Jordan Honda) finished fifth to head the Honda-powered drivers in today's free practice session for the ...

Fisichella and Sato finish fifth and sixth in Hungarian Free Practice

Giancarlo Fisichella (DHL Jordan Honda) finished fifth to head the Honda-powered drivers in today's free practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring. Team-mate Takuma Sato was right behind him in sixth place while Jacques Villenueve (Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda) recorded 12th place, followed by Olivier Panis in 14th position.

Many of the drivers struggled to find grip around the relatively tight and twisty Hungaroring circuit, where track conditions are always very dusty as the circuit sees little action throughout the rest of the year. The 3.975 km circuit requires almost as much downforce as Monaco, due to the numerous tight corners and short straights. The nature of the track means there are very few overtaking opportunities, which puts a heavy emphasis on qualifying.

The weather was uncharacteristically bad for Budapest, which usually sees extremely high temperatures and no rain. Many European countries, particularly Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic, have experienced heavy rain and terrible weather conditions for over a week, and Hungary has also been affected by this. Both free practice sessions were plagued by intermittent showers which, combined with the dusty track conditions, meant that many of the drivers had trouble staying on the circuit.

Jordan Honda's Giancarlo Fisichella completed 14 laps of the Hungaroring in the morning session and a further 19 laps in the afternoon, setting a best time of 1m17.399s and finishing in fifth place overall. His team-mate Takuma Sato completed a total of 43 laps and finished in sixth position overall, setting a best time of 1m17.598s, improving on his initial time by almost two seconds.

B.A.R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis were only able to complete 25 laps between them in the second session, so although they were running well in the morning, their limited track time due to repairs to the floor and bargeboards on Villeneuve's car and a gearbox oil leak and throttle problem for Panis meant that they were unable to improve their times significantly in the afternoon. Villeneuve finished in 12th position overall with a best time of 1m18.388s and Panis set a best time of 1m18.846s, putting him in 14th position overall.

The Ferrari pairing of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello dominated the free practice session in mild conditions (24 degrees), finishing in first and second positions respectively. Ralf Schumacher (Williams) set the third fastest time followed by McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen while Jordan Honda's Giancarlo Fisichella and Takuma Sato complete the top six positions.

Shuhei Nakamoto - Race and Test Team Manager, Honda Racing Development

"It's great to see two of the Honda-powered drivers in the top six, and all four of them were going well this morning. We're not getting carried away though, as it's only Friday. We will use the data gathered today to fine tune the set up for qualifying tomorrow and the race on Sunday."

Giancarlo Fisichella Position: 5th

"It's been a good day. The car looks alright with good balance on used and new tyres. Today on my best lap I had a little graining with the front tyres and I made a mistake in the last three sectors. But overall it's looking encouraging and I'm pleased to say I'm confident that we could be on the front three or four rows tomorrow."

Takuma Sato Position: 6th

"I'm very pleased today as we had no mechanical problems at all and we put in a lot of laps, which is good for me as it's the first time I've been here in Formula One. It's always good to learn the circuit quickly with the car working well. We still have some work in a couple of areas, but even so the car is going really well and our times look good so I'm feeling positive about tomorrow's qualifying."

Jacques Villeneuve Position: 12th

"Today got off to a good start and we were going well on old tyres considering the track conditions. It was quite slippery as is usually the case on a Friday here but generally we were improving throughout the session. We used the new tyres in this afternoon's session and had a harder time trying to get them to work. Then, I made a mistake by braking late into turn 4 and ended up spinning off. The problem with the gravel traps here is that they're more like 'rock' traps and can cause a lot of damage to the car, as we saw. We had to replace the floor and the bargeboards and I lost over 30 minutes in the second session, so I wasn't able to work with the tyres very much at all. We haven't made enough progress today and we have a lot of work to do with the data now to prepare us for tomorrow's session."

Olivier Panis Position: 14th

"Today didn't go at all how we expected. Things had been looking quite good in the morning session but this afternoon I had a gearbox oil leak and a problem with the throttle. This meant that I spent more time in the garage than on the track so we were unable to make any further progress. The Hungaroring is always very dirty for the first day's running so today has been quite a frustrating day overall. It's difficult to know where we stand compared with the other teams but that's always the case on a Friday. All I can do now is work with the engineers to find a solution that will help us to achieve the maximum preparation for qualifying. I'm still feeling positive that we can turn things around but we have a lot of work ahead this afternoon."


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Takuma Sato , Ralf Schumacher , Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Olivier Panis , Jacques Villeneuve , Shuhei Nakamoto
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Williams , Jordan