Italian GP: BAR race report

Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda collected three crucial championship points in Monza today after Jacques Villeneuve finished the Italian Grand Prix in sixth place. He drove a hard-fought and fault-free race from start to finish, helping the team to ...

Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda collected three crucial championship points in Monza today after Jacques Villeneuve finished the Italian Grand Prix in sixth place. He drove a hard-fought and fault-free race from start to finish, helping the team to maintain fifth place in the Constructors' Championship, doubling his own Drivers' Championship points tally in the process.

His team-mate Jenson Button was less fortunate. Despite equaling his second best qualifying position of the season yesterday, his seventh place advantage on the grid was compromised by a bad start initially, followed by gearbox failure after 24 laps.

Jacques Villeneuve:

"I'm really pleased to finish sixth today and get three more Championship points for the team. The race was a great team effort and the guys did a fantastic job during the pitstops. We didn't qualify as well as we hoped yesterday but we were working for the race, so it was great to stay reliable and be able to make the most of a good race set-up. Let's hope we can build on that at Indianapolis in two weeks now."

Jenson Button:

"I lost second gear early in the race so I had to rely on first. I was doing quite well considering, and I managed to stay ahead of Frentzen and Panis, then I lost first, sixth and seventh in close succession. It's a real shame after such a positive qualifying performance because I felt that we could easily have achieved points-finishes for both cars today. Jacques did a good job though and three points for the team is still very important at this stage. We have to maintain the momentum in testing next week now and make sure we do as good a job in Indy and Japan."

David Richards, Team Principal:

"We achieved our target with a solid haul of points for Jacques, which now moves us ahead in the fight for fifth place in the Championship. Jenson's retirement was disappointing given the strength of both cars today, and of course a lost opportunity, but nonetheless our improved performance bodes well for the remaining two events of the season."

Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director:

"This is a very good result for Jacques and the team, which has allowed us to widen the gap to Toyota and keeps us in front of Jaguar in the fight for fifth place in the championship. Jacques benefited from a clean exit from the first chicane to pass Jenson and Webber as they were fighting for track position through Curva Grande. He was able to jump Panis at the first pitstop after running for longer and a better stop, and he drove a fault-free race to finish in sixth position."

"Jenson reported problems with downshifting into second gear shortly before his first stop. Unfortunately these problems caused terminal mechanical damage to the gearbox, causing him to retire after 24 laps. We had a good car here and both cars qualified in the top ten, so it is disappointing to not make the most of a solid points-scoring opportunity. We will continue to work hard for the last two races to consolidate our fifth place standing."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:

"Jacques drove a steady race today and I'm pleased we've picked up some more points at this crucial stage of the championship. Not a good day for Jenson. We will have a challenging final two races."

Jacques Villeneuve
Chassis: BAR Honda 005-6
Position: 6th
Best lap time: 1:23.039

Jenson Button
Chassis: BAR Honda 005-4
Position: DNF (24 laps)
Best lap time: 1:23.225

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Jacques Villeneuve , David Richards , Shuhei Nakamoto