UNFULFILLED POTENTIAL FOR HONDA IN MONACO Villeneuve retires on lap 64 while Button misses race Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve retired from the Monaco Grand Prix on lap 65, while the team decided to withdraw Jenson Button from the...
UNFULFILLED POTENTIAL FOR HONDA IN MONACO
Villeneuve retires on lap 64 while Button misses race
Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve retired from the Monaco Grand Prix on lap 65, while the team decided to withdraw Jenson Button from the race following his heavy crash in yesterday's free practice session.
Glorious sunshine and blue skies prevailed (air 25 degrees, track 33 degrees) as the 78 lap race got underway. Villeneuve got off the grid smoothly but dropped back two places to 13th and tucked in behind Nick Heidfeld (Sauber). Seconds later the safety car was deployed as the second Sauber of Heinz-Harald Frentzen crashed out of the race. The cars began racing again on lap four when the safety car returned to the pits and by lap 14 Villeneuve had moved up into 12th position as Jaguar's Mark Webber came into the pits.
The first of the two-stoppers came in on lap 21 but Villeneuve opted to stay out for a longer first stint and carved his way through the field, moving up into ninth place by lap 25. Five laps later the Canadian pitted from ninth place and rejoined in the same position, ahead of Toyota's Cristiano Da Matta.
Villeneuve had a strong second stint and put in some competitive lap times, showing the potential of his B*A*R Honda 005. He came in for his second scheduled pit stop on lap 54 and rejoined in tenth place behind the Jordan of Giancarlo Fisichella. The Italian pitted a couple of laps later so Villeneuve was back up into ninth and looking good for a points finish. However, the race was over for Villeneuve on lap 64, just 14 laps from the end, as he was forced to retire when his engine stopped.
Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) took victory in Monaco, the first time Williams have won here for 20 years, followed by Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren) and Michael Schumacher (Ferrari). Ralf Schumacher (Williams) and Renault's Fernando Alonso finished fourth and fifth while Jarno Trulli (Renault) crossed the line sixth. The final two points scoring positions were taken by McLaren's David Coulthard and Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello.
Shuhei Nakamoto - Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"This has been a really tough weekend but we've shown how competitive we can be both in qualifying and race trim. I'm sorry Jacques was not able to finish as he was having a good race. We don't yet know what caused the engine to stop but we will investigate everything thoroughly this week. However, we have to put it behind us now and look forward to Canada where we'll have both guys back in action again."
Jacques Villeneuve Position: DNF
"It's extremely frustrating that I wasn't able to finish the race again. We didn't get a very good launch start and I lost time behind Heidfeld. I suspected there was something wrong with the engine at the first pitstop. There was an engine noise change and vibration, then it gave up coming through the tunnel. Once again I'm going to have to put this weekend behind me, focus on testing and hope for better things in the next race."