Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda drivers Jenson Button and Jacques Villeneuve ended the day 10th and 16th respectively in today's first qualifying for the US Grand Prix. Their times were split by a sudden shower which forced Jacques to tiptoe round the ...
Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda drivers Jenson Button and Jacques Villeneuve ended the day 10th and 16th respectively in today's first qualifying for the US Grand Prix. Their times were split by a sudden shower which forced Jacques to tiptoe round the high-speed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where cool, wet and cloudy conditions look set to shape the rest of the weekend.
Track temperature dipped to 16°C during the qualifying hour, matching the maximum ambient temperature. Jenson was the 10th driver to join the track for his single-lap run, in respect of his position in the drivers' championship, whilst his team- mate Jacques left the pitlane 15th in line. The same temperamental conditions are forecast for tomorrow's session, for which Jacques will leave the garage fifth in line for his one-lap final qualifying, while Jenson will be the 11th driver out on track.
"Not a great first qualifying for me. I didn't really make any mistakes and the car balance is good, but there was very little grip and we just seemed to be slow today. We worked through our tyre options this morning but I think we made the wrong choice for qualifying. There's definitely room for improvement during the rest of the weekend but it looks likely that the weather is going to play a big part."
"For the second time this year I went out just as the rain started to fall and in those conditions there's nothing you can do. You still drive as hard as you can but you know you're going to be slow and way down the timesheet. The car is quite good in the wet and we did some laps in the rain this morning, but there's no way you can get close to the times set by those who were running on a dry track. Wet weather makes qualifying a bit of a lottery and if it continues tomorrow then it only takes a few seconds to make the difference between a good or bad grid position. If it's wet for everyone then I think we have reason to be optimistic."
David Richards, Team Principal:
"After a promising start to the day our qualifying positions are somewhat disappointing. There is certainly room for improvement but the weather looks certain to have a hand in the outcome this weekend."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director:
"This is a disappointing first qualifying session for us, despite a stronger first session. The car was reasonably competitive this morning, particularly when the rain started to fall and we were able to use our wet tyres. This afternoon, Jenson's car wasn't working well and was suffering from very low grip. We considered using the other tyre with Jacques but unfortunately just prior to his run, it rained very heavily forcing him out on wets. We're confident that we can improve the car overnight and qualify in a stronger position tomorrow."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"The on-off rain played a big part in the times today. Who knows what will happen tomorrow - it might be our turn to benefit from the conditions."
Chassis: BAR Honda 005-06
Lap time: 1:18.547
Chassis: BAR Honda 005-4
Lap time: 1:11.847