B*A*R Honda's Jenson Button will start Honda's home race from the front row of the grid tomorrow after posting the 2nd fastest lap time of today's wet qualifying session. His team-mate, Japanese star Takuma Sato, qualified just 0.7secs behind and...
B*A*R Honda's Jenson Button will start Honda's home race from the front row of the grid tomorrow after posting the 2nd fastest lap time of today's wet qualifying session. His team-mate, Japanese star Takuma Sato, qualified just 0.7secs behind and will line up on the third row of the grid in front of his home crowd.
The forecasts for today's qualifying session proved to be pin-point accurate as the Suzuka circuit saw rain showers throughout the morning, over 95% humidity and the predicted downpour in time for the latter stages of the decisive session.
In the first free practice session of the day, few of the drivers ventured out in the treacherous conditions for anything more than to scrub their wet tyres. Jenson completed just four timed laps and Taku five. The second free practice session saw progressively more rainfall, although the drivers completed more laps and were able to continue fine-tuning their race set-up.
Takuma and Jenson were the 11th and 14th drivers to leave the pitlane for their qualifying runs, just minutes before the heavens opened for the unluckiest of the runners. As the conditions look set to be dry tomorrow, the crowd can be sure of a very exciting race as the mixed-up grid unravels itself throughout 53 laps of the challenging Suzuka circuit.
"It's fantastic to be on the front row of the grid for Honda's home race here at Suzuka. I'm very happy with the position, if not the lap itself. We were lucky with the weather as the rain came soon after my run."
"The car itself had massive understeer everywhere and it was difficult to drive, particularly as we had not the run the wet tyre before this weekend. All in all we have set the car up well for the race, we have a good strategy and I hope to go really well in front of the incredible crowd of fans that we have here this weekend."
"I am very happy to have qualified in 5th position for my home race. The weather has been kind to us today and has given us a great chance for tomorrow. Although it started to spit with rain as I went out, it did not affect me that much."
"However, having not run the intermediate tyres today, I had very big understeer so I think I did a good lap. I really hope I have a great race tomorrow as the support from the fans has been fantastic."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting director:
"We are delighted with our qualifying position today; having Jenson so close to pole and Taku in fifth at Suzuka is very promising for tomorrow. Although Jenson suffered from a lot of understeer during his run, he was still able to post a time just 0.04 seconds behind pole. Taku had a good clean run in slightly wetter conditions."
"Certainly the changing weather during the late stages of the session meant that the usual contenders are starting further back than normal, which will make the race quite interesting tomorrow. We have been quite happy with the performance of the car throughout the weekend and our strategy took into account the possibility of uncertain weather which makes us positive for the race."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering director, Honda Racing Development:
"I think we have been a little lucky today but having said that both of the guys did very strong laps. Suzuka has had some fantastic races over the years and I think tomorrow could be one of the best. I would like to ask all our fans for their strongest support tomorrow and we promise to do everything possible to give them a good result."
Chassis: BAR Honda 007-04
Lap time: 1:46.141
Chassis: BAR Honda 007-05
Lap Time: 1:46.841