Malaysian GP: BAR Saturday qualifying notes

Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda driver Jenson Button will line up on the third row of the grid for the start of tomorrow's 56-lap Malaysian Grand Prix after posting the 6th fastest time in today's final qualifying session. His team-mate Takuma Sato will...

Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda driver Jenson Button will line up on the third row of the grid for the start of tomorrow's 56-lap Malaysian Grand Prix after posting the 6th fastest time in today's final qualifying session. His team-mate Takuma Sato will be forced to start the race from the back of the grid after spinning off into the gravel at turn 11.

After a frustrating start to the weekend, B*A*R enjoyed a more productive free practice this morning, making up for lost track time during Friday afternoon's running. Jenson was able to consolidate this progress with a solid lap in the second of his two-part qualifying runs, finally able to get closer to the full potential of the Malaysia specification B*A*R Honda 006.

Track temperatures soared to 52°C as qualifying got underway, peaking at 55°C mid-way through the two-hour session, with the ambient temperature hitting a 37°C maximum. Tomorrow's race at the Sepang circuit in Kuala Lumpur is expected to be another sizzler!

Jenson Button:

"I'm a bit disappointed with 6th to be honest. I had two really good first sectors, especially the second sector - the high-speed part. Then I lost quite a bit of time in the final sector because I had too much oversteer, and two tenths overall on my best time this morning. We've struggled to find the right set-up here and we're not there yet, so it's going to be a case of wait-and-see for the race. I'm feeling reasonably positive though and we have a good chance of a points-finish tomorrow."

Takuma Sato:

"I'm obviously very disappointed to finish qualifying like this. I hit a bump in the high-speed turn 11 and just couldn't catch it. I was pushing hard and could feel that it was a better lap. After such a difficult start to the weekend I felt we had made good progress this morning and it all started to come together in that qualifying lap. The car wasn't damaged thankfully but I will be starting the race from the back row of the grid which is very frustrating. I feel we have a strong race package and I will certainly be fighting hard to improve my situation tomorrow and get as close to a point as possible."

David Richards, Team Principal:

"Jenson should feel pleased with sixth on the grid after what has been a slightly frustrating weekend for the team. Our recent testing has focused on longer runs and reliability, and I am confident that this will translate into a strong race performance tomorrow. Taku is going to face an uphill challenge from the back of the grid, but in a race where one can expect a high attrition rate, he could still finish in the points."

Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director:

"We have had a difficult day trying to find a good compromise set-up for qualifying and tomorrow's race, but we were reasonably happy with the cars by the start of the second qualifying run. We targeted a top-six grid slot so we are pleased with Jenson's qualifying position. Takuma unfortunately spun off into turn 10 and will be starting the race from the back of the grid, which is obviously disappointing but I'm sure he will fight hard to recover from that in the race. Tomorrow will be tough on the drivers and the cars, but we have worked hard on reliability and we believe that we will be able to score points from sixth place."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:

"Overall Jenson did a good job and was able to qualify well. Taku was competitive through the first and second sectors and it's a shame that he didn't manage to complete his lap. We think we've got a good set-up and tyre selection for the race tomorrow and will be fighting to score points."

Jenson Button
Chassis: BAR Honda 006-03
Position: 6th
Fastest lap time: 1:34.221

Takuma Sato
Chassis: BAR Honda 006-01
Position: 20th
Fastest lap time: Not recorded

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Takuma Sato , Jenson Button , David Richards , Shuhei Nakamoto