TOP TEN START FOR HONDA IN IMOLA Villeneuve and Panis qualify 10th and 12th for San Marino Grand Prix Jacques Villeneuve qualified his Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda in 10th position for tomorrow's grid of the San Marino Grand Prix to start the race...
TOP TEN START FOR HONDA IN IMOLA Villeneuve and Panis qualify 10th and 12th for San Marino Grand Prix
Jacques Villeneuve qualified his Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda in 10th position for tomorrow's grid of the San Marino Grand Prix to start the race as the leading Honda-powered car. His B.A.R Honda team-mate Olivier Panis will start directly behind him in 12th position. The DHL Jordan Hondas of Takuma Sato and Giancarlo Fisichella will line up in 14th and 15th positions respectively.
The B.A.R Hondas of Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis were out on track early to complete their first set of three laps. Villeneuve set his best time of 1m23.116s in his final run, improving on his first timed lap by over a second and securing 10th place on the grid. Panis also set his best lap of 1m23.821s in his final set of three laps, and he too improved his initial time by just over a second, which moved him up into 12th position.
The Jordan Hondas of Giancarlo Fisichella and Takuma Sato took to the track fifteen minutes into the session. Sato completed four laps on his first run and throughout the hour gradually improved on his first timed lap, setting a best lap of 1m24.050s and moving into 14th position. On the first lap of his second run Fisichella stopped out on track due to a hydraulics problem. The Italian swapped into the spare car, which had already been set up for him, and went on to set his best time of 1m24.253s in his final run, placing him 15th on the grid.
In improved weather conditions (19 degrees), Ferrari's Michael Schumacher took pole position with team-mate Rubens Barrichello joining him on the front row. The Williams pairing of Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya will start from third and fourth positions with the McLarens of Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard completing the top six positions.
Shuhei Nakamoto - Race and Test Team Manager, Honda Racing Development
"It was a very exciting qualifying session from the point of view that the mid-field battle is so tight at the moment. We ran the latest engine evolution today and managed to squeeze a few more revs out of it and some more power without having any problems. Giancarlo's run of bad luck doesn't seem to have ended yet but he's already shown this weekend that he can be quick around here. We're going to do everything we can in the race."
Jacques Villeneuve Position: 10th
"It looks like the hard work done during the last two tests is starting to pay off and I'm very pleased for the team. 10th and 12th is definitely a step forward for us. We had a difficult start to the weekend and yesterday showed us that we had a lot of work to do to improve the car for qualifying. I was a little disappointed with my own qualifying session because I don't think we found the best set-up for me. On the positive side, we have been reliable all weekend so we need to stay focused and make the most of every opportunity tomorrow."
Olivier Panis Position: 12th
"After the start we made to the weekend we should be very happy with today's result. We've made a number of small changes for this race and the team have done a lot of work over the past two days to get the most from them. The track seems to suit the car and we're starting from the first half of the grid, so if we can get a good first lap we should be in with a chance of getting a point."
Takuma Sato Position: 14th
"The qualifying position is naturally disappointing, but I must say that I am satisfied with my performance as I honestly feel I did all I could do today. The fact is that we need to push hard to improve our competitiveness. The latest evolution engine is definitely better at the top end and has better torque. Acqua Minerale was slightly damp at the start of the hour but it dried out during the session and I was able to improve my lap time on each outing. For tomorrow, if I can make up places in the race as I did in Brazil I will be happy."
Giancarlo Fisichella Position: 15th
"Clearly a disappointing qualifying session, especially here in Italy and after yesterday's encouraging performance. The situation is simply that we are on the limit of our performance, although I believe I would have qualified higher had I not had the hydraulic problems with my race car. When I took the T car out it did not feel as good as my car. I hope to have a better day tomorrow and finish the race, if possible in the points."