In what must rank as one of the most gruelling Formula One races of the season, KL Minardi Asiatech drivers, Mark Webber and Anthony Davidson, gave a fine account of themselves in today's Hungarian Grand Prix. Adopting a two-stop strategy for fuel...
In what must rank as one of the most gruelling Formula One races of the season, KL Minardi Asiatech drivers, Mark Webber and Anthony Davidson, gave a fine account of themselves in today's Hungarian Grand Prix. Adopting a two-stop strategy for fuel and tyres, in common with all other teams, Webber and Davidson provided the Faenza squad with considerable cause for satisfaction by posting consistently quick lap times in the race. Webber's was a particularly gritty drive, as he ran two of his three stints without a functioning drinks bottle.
The surprisingly low attrition rate in today's race, however, meant the young Australian finished in 16th place, while Davidson ran strongly until lap 61, when his car lost grip on a dirty section of track and spun into the gravel. The 23-year-old Englishman had done more than enough, however, to impress the team with his maturity, pace and natural ability.
"It was a pretty tough race for us, as the drink bottle didn't work at all today. I had a really good start, and passed McNish and Panis on the opening lap, although McNish re-took the place. The first stint was good, but I made a mistake coming into the pits, braked a little bit too late for the box, and locked up the wheels on the very dusty surface - sorry to the guys for that. They tried to put a makeshift drink bottle under my arm at the stop with a tube to my helmet, but it didn't really work, and we lost a lot of time as a result. The second stint was okay, but then we lost further time trying to put more liquids in the car at the pit stop. It wasn't one of our best races of the year, but now we look forward to Spa."
"It was definitely a lot harder than it looks on the television, and the first stint of the race went by so fast, I couldn't believe it! It took a bit of time to get into a rhythm, but once I did, I was able to push harder and harder, until I found the limit. This weekend was always going to be a learning experience for me, and I'm pleased with my performance today, but disappointed not to have finished the race. It was my mistake, as I got onto a slightly dusty part of the track while trying to allow overtaking room, and the back end of the car just snapped away. On the positive side, the pit stops were fun, and I now understand what it feels like to be in a Formula One race. I'm really looking forward to Spa, where the cars should be just awesome."
PAUL STODDART, Team Principal
"On a hot and windy afternoon, amazing reliability seemed to be the order of the day at the Hungarian Grand Prix, with most of the grid making it to the chequered flag. In the case of KL Minardi Asiatech, Mark drove an excellent race to finish P16, while credit must also go to Anthony for completing 75 per cent of his first Grand Prix and setting some impressive lap times that showed he was right on the pace. Full marks to the whole team for what has been a faultless weekend."
THE ASIATECH VIEW
In the hot, demanding conditions that reigned at the Hungaroring, the Asiatech engines again showed exemplary reliability in one of the longest Grands Prix of the season.
Chassis: PS02/04 (No 23)
Fastest lap: 1 min 19.567 secs
Chassis: PS02/03 (No 22)
Position: DNF (lap 61)
Fastest lap: 1 min 19.347 secs