Monaco GP: Honda Thursday notes

FISICHELLA LEADS HONDA POWER IN MONACO Jordan Honda driver goes fourth fastest in Free Practice Giancarlo Fisichella (DHL Jordan Honda) was the leading Honda-powered driver in today's free practice for the Monaco Grand Prix this Sunday, with the...

Jordan Honda driver goes fourth fastest in Free Practice

Giancarlo Fisichella (DHL Jordan Honda) was the leading Honda-powered driver in today's free practice for the Monaco Grand Prix this Sunday, with the fourth fastest time. Oliver Panis and Jacques Villenueve (Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda) were 12th and 14th fastest respectively while Jordan Honda's Takuma Sato ended the day 17th.

Jordan Honda's Giancarlo Fisichella completed three laps in the first session before slowing out on track with a gear selection problem. The Italian driver was not permitted to continue running after the marshals pushed him into the pits. Fisichella went on to complete a further 21 laps in the afternoon and set the fourth fastest time overall of 1m19.680s.

His Jordan Honda team-mate Takuma Sato completed 21 laps in the morning and set a best time of 1m25.032. Sato completed a further 18 laps in the second session and set the 17th fastest time overall of 1m21.868s, improving on his initial time by just over three seconds. The Japanese driver had a suspension problem towards the end of the second session and was therefore unable to complete any further laps.

B.A.R Honda's Olivier Panis completed 62 laps in today's free practice, dividing them equally between the first and second sessions, and set a best lap and seventh fastest time of the morning of 1m22.711s. In the afternoon the Frenchman improved on his initial time by almost two seconds, setting a best lap and 12th fastest time overall of 1m20.887s. His B.A.R Honda team-mate Jacques Villeneuve completed 30 laps in the morning and a further 30 laps in the afternoon, setting the 14th fastest time overall of 1m21.086s, improving on his initial time by one and a half seconds.

The conditions remained overcast in Monaco as Renault's Jarno Trulli set the pace, followed by Toyota's Allan McNish. David Coulthard (McLaren) and Jordan Honda's Giancarlo Fisichella recorded the third and fourth fastest times while Mika Salo (Toyota) and Ralf Schumacher (Williams) complete the top six positions.

Shuhei Nakamoto Race and Test Team Manager, Honda Racing Development

"All four Honda-powered cars were running race set-up in preparation for Sunday. Although everything went well from an engine point of view and we didn't have any problems, the times on Thursday in Monaco are notoriously unrepresentative of how the grid will look on Saturday night. The unique challenge that Monaco represents means that we have a lot of work to do, but we have collected over 188 laps of data today so have plenty of material to study."

Giancarlo Fisichella Position: 4th

"It was not a bad day, even though we lost the first session. We did quite a good job and it looks like the car is getting better. We have a lot of graining with the tyres in the last part of the lap, but I think it will be less of a problem on Saturday. We will also improve the set-up, so I am confident that we can be in the top ten."

Olivier Panis Position: 12th

"We've done a good first day's work today. We tried many things to steadily improve the set-up and prepare us for different conditions. I did 62 laps and the car was very reliable so that's a good first step for this weekend. We did some long runs to understand the car here and also the tyres were improving as we put more laps on them. We don't have the best set-up yet and we need to make the engine a little more responsive but generally we seem to be making good progress so far. We still have a lot of work ahead to make sure we are in the best shape for qualifying because this is absolutely critical here."

Jacques Villeneuve Position: 14th

"Today hasn't been too bad for a first day in Monaco. It was a typical first practice in terms of working with the tyres and looking for a good race set-up. We did a lot of laps but we didn't manage to get the car running well enough yet. The car feels good generally but the track was very dirty this morning and there is generally a lack of grip here at the start of the weekend until it has been rubbered in. We still have some work to do in terms of tyre choice but we'll have to see what the weather has in store for us because it's so important here."

Takuma Sato Position: 17th

"It was a shame that we had a suspension problem at the end, thanks to this circuit's kerbs, and unfortunately I lost the last 15 minutes of running. Generally, it was a good day as I learned the circuit and found good balance with the EJ12. The track conditions were quite difficult but on Saturday and Sunday it will probably be different so I think we are okay."


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Takuma Sato , Jarno Trulli , Ralf Schumacher , David Coulthard , Olivier Panis , Jacques Villeneuve , Allan McNish , Mika Salo , Shuhei Nakamoto
Teams McLaren , Williams , Jordan