Spanish GP: BAR Saturday qualifying notes

Takuma Sato will lead the charge for Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda in tomorrow's Spanish Grand Prix after posting the 3rd fastest lap in today's final qualifying session. At the same time he achieved the best qualifying position of his F1 career and of...

Takuma Sato will lead the charge for Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda in tomorrow's Spanish Grand Prix after posting the 3rd fastest lap in today's final qualifying session. At the same time he achieved the best qualifying position of his F1 career and of any Japanese driver in F1 history. Takuma will line up on the second row behind Michael Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya. His team-mate Jenson Button made an uncharacteristic mistake on his crucial lap, which sent him wide and relegated him to 14th on the grid for the start of the race.

Takuma Sato:

"It's fantastic to be starting the race from 3rd on the grid - my best ever starting position in a Formula One race. It means a huge amount to me and all the people who support us. I didn't get a very good start to my weekend yesterday but I had a very successful free practice this morning and I felt really comfortable with the car, so I knew we could be strong in qualifying."

"This is not an easy circuit; the track conditions are constantly changing and the wind was picking up during the final run. I knew I just had to concentrate every step of the way around the track and I'm pleased with the end result. It wasn't a perfect lap; the first sector was good then the car was a little twitchy in the second sector and I probably lost a little time in the last sector as a result. This is a track we know well though and I just want to do the best job I can tomorrow. We have a great opportunity to be on the podium. It won't be easy but I'll certainly be trying my best."

Jenson Button:

"My lap was very disappointing. It was going quite well early in the weekend, although I have been struggling a little bit with the set-up around here. The conditions have changed a lot since pre-qualifying as there's a lot more wind now, which is one of the reasons why I ended up having an excursion. The first sector was OK and I had lots of grip but then I got some understeer, went wide coming around turn 7, went onto the grass and had to lift off in the end, which was disappointing as it has put me down to 14th. Sometimes these things happen though. It's great for Taku, but for me it's not so good starting further down the grid. We'll have to think overnight on strategy options for tomorrow and see if we can recover some ground."

David Richards, Team Principal:

"I am delighted that Taku has done such a good job translating his winter testing form into this terrific performance today. Friday was not easy for him, and yet he maintained his focus and calmly set about delivering his best result yet. I think he has shown in his short history with the team that he is not easily intimidated by the top names, and I expect to see him making an early challenge on the front row."

"As for Jenson, it is obviously a disappointment given that we know he has phenomenal speed at this circuit. However, my view is that as a team we have to take these challenges in our stride and that it is just part of the learning process. I fully expect that Jenson will be able to get back in the points, and provide strong back-up to Taku."

Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director

"Today did not run quite to plan. Takuma had a very good lap only just losing out on a front row position at the last moment. An uncharacteristic mistake from Jenson caused him to run wide at turn 7, dropping him to 14th place, probably as a result of pushing too hard in the gusty conditions. The track has been quite difficult all day with low grip and inconsistent conditions, but we have been happy with the speed and balance of the car. Takuma is clearly in a great position for the race, but Jenson will have a lot of work to do tomorrow. Our target, as always, is to get both cars in the points and one on the podium."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development

"Taku has done a good job to get third place today. We have a competitive car here and I am sure we can fight for the podium again this Sunday."

Takuma Sato
Chassis: BAR Honda 006-3
Position: 3rd
Lap time: 1:15.809

Jenson Button
Chassis: BAR Honda 006-5
Position: 14th
Lap time: 1:17.575

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya