Hungarian GP: Honda Saturday notes

HONDA-POWERED DRIVER SECURES THIRD ROW SPOT Fisichella qualifies in fifth place for Hungarian Grand Prix DHL Jordan Honda's Giancarlo Fisichella qualified in fifth position for tomorrow's grid of the Hungarian Grand Prix (the highest ...


Fisichella qualifies in fifth place for Hungarian Grand Prix

DHL Jordan Honda's Giancarlo Fisichella qualified in fifth position for tomorrow's grid of the Hungarian Grand Prix (the highest Honda-powered qualifying position of the year) while Olivier Panis (B.A.R Honda) will start from 12th place. B.A.R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve and Jordan Honda's Takuma Sato will line up in 13th and 14th positions respectively.

The entire field waited 25 minutes before taking to the track for the qualifying hour at the Hungaroring except for Anthony Davidson, the B.A.R Honda test driver who is piloting the Minardi this weekend in place of regular driver Alex Yoong. B.A.R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve was the first of the Honda-powered foursome to go out for his first set of three laps. The Canadian driver was followed five minutes later by team-mate Olivier Panis and shortly afterwards by the Jordan Honda pairing of Takuma Sato and Giancarlo Fisichella.

Giancarlo Fisichella set his best lap on his second outing, finishing the day as the fastest of the four Honda-powered quartet and the top Bridgestone runner after the two Ferraris. The Jordan Honda driver set a best time of 1m14.880s, which was four tenths of a second faster than his first outing, finally placing him in fifth position on the third row of the grid, his best qualifying performance this season.

Olivier Panis also set his best lap on his second attack, and will start from the sixth row of the grid in 12th position. Panis set a best time of 1m15.556s, an improvement of two tenths of a second on his first flying lap, but suffered from electronic problems for the rest of the session and failed to improve his grid position in his third and fourth outings. His team-mate Jacques Villeneuve's best lap of 1m15.804s was set on his final run, an improvement of almost a second on his initial time, placing the Canadian 13th on the grid. Villeneuve, who was battling with a mechanical problem and pushing hard to improve, spun on his third outing but still went on to set his fastest time on his final attack.

Takuma Sato, who was plagued by a gearbox oil leak towards the end of the session, recorded his best time of 1m15.804s on his second run, which was his first timed attack, placing the Jordan Honda driver in 14th position on the grid. Sato was unable to complete his first flying lap due to Jenson Button (Renault) spinning on the track ahead of him and he aborted his third outing when he noticed smoke and oil coming from the car. The Japanese driver went out for his final run in the spare car but failed to improve on his initial timed lap.

Hot and sunny conditions greeted the drivers (27 degrees) at the Hungaroring as Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello secured pole position ahead of team-mate Michael Schumacher. The Williams pairing of Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya will start from third and fourth positions while Giancarlo Fisichella (Jordan Honda) and Jarno Trulli (Renault) complete the top six grid positions for tomorrow's race.

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

"Giancarlo put in a great effort today to qualify on the third row and I hope we can help him convert it into points tomorrow. As for the other three, it's going to be harder for them starting from further back on the grid, but you never know what's going to happen in the race and we have to take every opportunity to score points. Overall, though, it was a trouble-free qualifying session in terms of the engine, so we're pleased about that, but obviously we would have liked more of the Honda-powered drivers to have qualified in the top ten."

Giancarlo Fisichella Position: 5th

"This is another good qualifying result and my best this year, so I'm very pleased. We've been quick all weekend and yesterday I was confident that we could be on the front three or four rows. Fifth is great for the race start tomorrow and I'm feeling positive and very strong mentally. Physically, it's going to be a very difficult race, but I'm confident. I like the circuit and I hope to score points."

Olivier Panis Position: 12th

"My qualifying session today was frustrating and annoying. We had a car to definitely be in the top seven and not where we are right now. For the last two days we have had a number of electronic problems and it happened again in qualifying. The frustration is that all weekend, I have been working hard with the team to find the right technical direction but one of the problems still remains and it is difficult to accept. It shows we still have more work to do on the detail of a race weekend before the team can think about competing with the front-runners. Nevertheless, I will roll up my sleeves tomorrow and fight hard in order to pick up any opportunity for points. On the other hand, I would like to say that Geoff Willis and his people at the factory have done a good job of improving the car for this weekend and the proof of that was shown in this morning's session. I would at least like to thank them for that."

Jacques Villeneuve Position: 13th

"I'm not happy with 13th because we could have done much better today. We had a mechanical problem this morning, which we only found out about at the end of free practice so we didn't have a set-up ready for qualifying. We had to go with what we had and work on improving it during the session. We salvaged it a little bit but obviously not enough. In the quickest corner Sato slowed me down so I tried to compensate by pushing hard into the next corner and ended up spinning off. The Hungarian Grand Prix is a very physical race; it's very hot and there are only a couple of straight lines so you're mainly driving corners which is very demanding over 77 laps. Generally we've got a tough race ahead of us tomorrow."

Takuma Sato Position: 14th

"What bad luck. I aborted my first attack when a Renault spun in front of me and I set my fastest time on the second outing. On the third run I could see smoke coming from the car and some oil was leaking out. I jumped into the T-car for my final attempt but unfortunately it wasn't quite the same as my race car. We had a few problems with it, which limited our chance of improving."


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Williams , Minardi , Jordan