After an encouraging start to its Italian Grand Prix weekend yesterday, the Honda Racing F1 Team carried the momentum through to this afternoon's qualifying hour with a further improved showing. Drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello will...
After an encouraging start to its Italian Grand Prix weekend yesterday, the Honda Racing F1 Team carried the momentum through to this afternoon's qualifying hour with a further improved showing. Drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello will now line up on the fifth and sixth rows of the grid tomorrow after qualifying in 10th and 12th positions.
Rubens and Jenson easily passed through the first of the three sessions, posting the 7th and 13th times respectively. Both drivers also had a strong Q2 with Jenson easily inside the top 10 at the close of the session in 8th place.
Rubens was also looking good for a place in the final Q3 shoot-out but was caught out by understeer at turn seven which caused him to run wide and lose valuable time across the gravel. He ended his qualifying session in 12th position. In the final session Jenson posted the 10th fastest time.
"I'm really pleased to have made it through into the top ten for the first time in quite a while. It took some time to really get to grips with the car this afternoon and it wasn't working well for the first few runs. However, we made improvements over the three sessions and got the best out of the car in the end."
"We've made changes to the front and rear suspension for this race, along with a different aero package, which is definitely helping us. Aero has been our main problem but we're not losing out too much with the low levels of drag that you need around Monza. The car is also looking after the tyres well which shows that it is mechanically sound."
"If I can get a good start from 10th tomorrow then we have to be aiming for the points. Strategy will be crucial and I'm confident we have a good race package, but it will also depend on the performance and reliability of the teams in front of us. This is a step forward and although we're unlikely to be scoring good points this season, it has given a boost to everyone here and back at the factory and is a small reward for all the hard work."
"We had the pace to get through to the final qualifying session so it was disappointing to just miss out today. My first flying lap was the one which really counted and I was already two-tenths up at Parabolica, but unfortunately I just got a little too close to Wurz and the car lost downforce which cost me some time."
"On the second lap, the tyres had gone off a little but I had to push hard nonetheless as we had a good chance of getting through. I ran wide at turn seven and lost the opportunity. When I rejoined the track it was in front of Fisichella, who was on his crucial lap."
"I'm sorry if I caused him a problem but I had nowhere else to go in that situation other than to get back on track. We have to look at our performance today as an improvement; the car felt good around here, and P12 gives us a chance to fight for a point tomorrow."
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director:
"After focusing on our race preparation yesterday, we concentrated this morning on our qualifying performance. We have been working very hard on the car in recent weeks, including bringing changes to the front and rear suspension and aerodynamics. This has been rewarded here with improved performance and the weekend so far has been very encouraging."