Lucky Strike Reynard BAR Honda provided engine supplier and technical partner, Honda, with a superb present on the anniversary of the Japanese company's 200th Grand Prix. Driver Jacques Villeneuve planted his BAR Honda 002 firmly on the second row...
Lucky Strike Reynard BAR Honda provided engine supplier and technical partner, Honda, with a superb present on the anniversary of the Japanese company's 200th Grand Prix. Driver Jacques Villeneuve planted his BAR Honda 002 firmly on the second row of the grid for tomorrow's Italian Grand Prix, recording the fourth fastest time of the afternoon session. In the process, he registered British American Racing's best-ever qualifying performance. In fact, the team had harboured realistic hopes of securing top-10 grid positions in tomorrow's race for both its drivers, Ricardo Zonta having set the eighth fastest time in Saturday morning practise, one place ahead of his team mate. Unfortunately, the young Brazilian encountered gear selection difficulties on his second qualifying run and was left stranded on the circuit. He then took to the team's rapidly prepared spare car for his final two qualifying runs, and despite a fine effort that saw him improve his lap time slightly, it was not enough to boost him into a top-10 slot.
"We're very happy with today's result, but this is what should have been happening for most of the season. We just haven't been competitive enough this year. As far as qualifying went, we didn't change the car set-up during the session. We just kept putting on new tyres and I tried to push harder without making mistakes. For the race, we will just do as we normally do: try to get a good start and then run strong. Normally, we seem to be better off in racing than qualifying, but this time, we had such a good balance in qualifying that maybe the race will be more difficult."
"We made good progress this morning and were confident we could qualify in the top six. After my first run this afternoon, we made some changes that should have improved the car, but then I had a problem with the gearchange and was forced to stop on the circuit. I took over the spare car, which was set up for Jacques, but couldn't move my feet properly on the pedals. The chassis also had a lot of oversteer, but I attacked as much as I could on my last run and managed to improve my time, but not by enough. I am very disappointed because I know we could have done so much better."
"We're obviously delighted to be fourth on the grid. The whole team - and that includes Honda - has done a great job today to achieve this. It's something of a bittersweet occasion, however, since unusually, there was a problem with Ricardo's car that prevented him from qualifying in the top 10 as well."