Monaco GP: Honda race notes

FISICHELLA RACES TO FIFTH IN MONACO Giancarlo scores another two points for Jordan Honda Giancarlo Fisichella and DHL Jordan Honda recorded fifth place in today's Monaco Grand Prix while Olivier Panis (Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda) was forced out of...

Giancarlo scores another two points for Jordan Honda

Giancarlo Fisichella and DHL Jordan Honda recorded fifth place in today's Monaco Grand Prix while Olivier Panis (Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda) was forced out of the action on lap 51 by Renault's Jenson Button. B.A.R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve had to park the car on lap 44 after developing a problem while Takuma Sato (Jordan Honda) retired on lap 22 as a result of an accident.

Jordan Honda's Giancarlo Fisichella remained in 11th position off the grid as the 60th Monaco Grand Prix got underway in stunning weather conditions (21 degrees). The Italian driver moved up into 10th place when Allan McNish retired on lap 15, but dropped back one spot when he was overtaken by his Jordan Honda team-mate Takuma Sato. Fisichella overtook Mika Salo (Toyota) for 10th position on lap 21, and two laps later moved up into ninth place behind Heinz Harald Frentzen (Arrows) when Sato crashed out.

Fisichella then gained two places when Rubens Barichello (Ferrari) and Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren) had a coming together. By lap 50 the Jordan Honda driver was up into fourth place, after the pit stops of Jarno Trulli (Renault), Frentzen and the retirement of Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren). Fisichella came in for his one scheduled pit stop on lap 52 and rejoined in fifth position ahead of Frentzen. He then battled with Trulli over the closing laps, but failed to take the fourth and crossed the line in fifth, half a second adrift, scoring another two points for himself and Jordan Honda.

B.A.R Honda's Olivier Panis had a good start, making up two positions and moving up into 16th place behind Sauber's Nick Heidfeld. By lap 23 the Frenchman was in 13th position, having benefited from McNish stopping on lap 15, Salo's pit stop on lap 21 and Sato's retirement. Panis grabbed a further two places when Felipe Massa (Sauber) hit Enrique Bernoldi on lap 27 and gained another place when Barrichello hit Raikkonen on lap 40, moving him up into 10th position.

Barrichello had a drive through penalty due to his clash with Raikkonen and this, coupled with Heidfeld's pit stop on lap 45, moved Panis up into eighth place and after the retirement of Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) he gained seventh position. After deciding on an ambitious long first run as his strategy Panis began to struggle for grip as his rear tyres deteriorated and by lap 50 he had fallen back two places to ninth. He was ultimately forced out of the action when he was hit by Jenson Button (Renault) on lap 51.

Jacques Villeneuve in the second Honda-powered B.A.R endured a torrid race. A clutch problem on the start line caused his car to stall and having returned to the pits he rejoined the race one lap down. He subsequently retired from the action after 44 laps when the car developed a problem and he had to pull over. Jordan Honda's Takuma Sato once again had a flying start, as he made up four places off the line, ending up in 12th position just behind his team-mate Fisichella. On lap 15 Sato made up another place when Allan McNish exited from the race.

A couple of laps later the Japanese driver overtook Fisichella for 10th place as the Italian was held up by other cars, and both Honda-powered drivers went on to overtake Salo (Toyota) on lap 21. Just two laps later the race was over for Sato when he crashed after losing grip on a dusty part of the track as he followed a team order to let Fisichella pass as he was setting faster lap times than Sato.

David Coulthard (McLaren) took the chequered flag, finishing ahead of Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) and the Williams of Ralf Schumacher. Renault's Jarno Trulli and Jordan Honda's Giancarlo Fisichella finished fourth and fifth with Heinz Harald Frentzen (Arrows) completing the point scoring positions.

Shuhei Nakamoto Race and Test Team Manager, Honda Racing Development

"I'm happy that we've scored points for the second race running. Giancarlo and the Jordan Honda team did a good job today. The reality is however that only one of the four Honda-powered cars made it to the end, so we can't feel at all satisfied with the overall result. Takuma and Olivier both retired before their scheduled pit stops so we didn't get a chance to see how well their race strategies would have worked. Jacques had a tough day as well and didn't really get the opportunity to show us what we know he can do."

Giancarlo Fisichella Position: 5th

"It's a great result for me and the team. I expected do well here as I am confident on this circuit, especially when the car is going well. When I made my pit stop, the car was feeling good and the tyre grip was much better than in qualifying. I was quick and catching Trulli but it was too late to take the risk of overtaking him and possibly losing my position. A few weeks ago it was difficult to imagine that these last two results would be possible. I'm hoping at the next race, with an improved engine, we will be more competitive."

Olivier Panis Position: DNF

"I had a good start and managed to move up to 15th at the end of the first lap. We had a one-stop strategy and this would have been a good strategy for us. I was doing OK, the car was running well and I didn't have any problems. Everything was on target until Button hit me while I was braking and turning into St Devote. I didn't see him coming and you don't expect someone to overtake there. It was a racing incident though so we should forget about it now and focus on preparing for Canada."

Jacques Villeneuve Position: DNF

"We had a problem with the clutch at the start and lost everything because of that. By the time we started the car I was obviously a lap down but only half the cars finished the race today, so you have to be there and keep pushing. It was a shame because we had a strategy to pit very late and even with all the fuel we had on board we were doing very competitive lap times. The tyres were also holding up very well so we could have had a good race, but the car suddenly developed a problem and I had to pull over. Good luck hasn't been on our side again here so we have to hope for better things in Canada."

Takuma Sato Position: DNF

"It was an exciting race and I made a really good start, overtaking a couple of cars at the first corner and then I was immediately behind Giancarlo. I was able to overtake him as he seemed to get held up by something, maybe passing other cars. But at the time Giancarlo was slightly quicker than me and because I was ahead of him, the team asked me to let him through. I was trying to let him go past, but unfortunately it was at the exit of the tunnel and while I was trying to make space for him, I picked up dust, slid and lost control of the car. It is a big disappointment but has been good experience for me and I would like to congratulate Giancarlo for scoring points. Brilliant."


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Jordan