Malaysian GP Benetton qualifying notes

The Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport team had a challenging qualifying session on Saturday at Sepang ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix. Italian Giancarlo Fisichella set the 16th-quickest time of the day with a lap of 1m38.086s which puts him on...

The Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport team had a challenging qualifying session on Saturday at Sepang ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix. Italian Giancarlo Fisichella set the 16th-quickest time of the day with a lap of 1m38.086s which puts him on the eighth row of the grid, while his team-mate Jenson Button will line up just behind him in 17th place after setting a laptime of 1m38.258s.

The session was run in hot and humid conditions with a track temperature of 38, conditions uncomfortable in the cockpit for all of the drivers.

The team's Director of Engineering Pat Symonds commented afterwards:

"We have had a much more productive day today as the cars ran reliably this morning, however we are still really at the beginning of our quest for speed and this is reflected in our qualifying positions.

"I feel we could have got a bit higher, particularly with Giancarlo who unfortunately had a minor problem with his car which meant a very late change to the T-car and the timing was such that he didn't get out for his last run," he continued. "Jenson has had a reasonable run this afternoon, but has still not perfected his balance and the two tenths between our drivers reflects this."

Giancarlo Fisichella said afterwards that he had expected to finish the day higher, but was blighted by a late change to the T-car.

"I am very disappointed as I only got one run in today and considering it was at the beginning of the session, I know I could have improved quite a lot," he explained.

"I had to abort my second run and then on my third one, we realised there was a problem with the car, although we don't know what it is as yet.

"We decided I should change to the T-car but as it was set-up for Jenson there wasn't enough time to prepare it for me, and although the mechanics did a good job of trying, we were just a few seconds too late."

Jenson Button explained his session, saying: "On my first run I was a bit too cautious and I also had quite a bit of oversteer in the fast corners, then we made some set-up changes which improved the balance for my second run.

"We kept working in this direction," he added, "but I don't feel I really got the best out of the car, so 17th position is quite disappointing."

The Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport team will next be on track at Sepang for the Sunday morning warm-up, ahead of the afternoon's 2001 Malaysian Grand Prix, which gets underway at 3.00pm local time.

- Benetton F1

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Jenson Button
Teams Benetton