The fortunes of Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's Takuma Sato were finally reversed today after he made his podium debut in the United States Grand Prix. He delivered an outstanding performance throughout the incident-filled 73-lap race, remaining calm...
The fortunes of Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's Takuma Sato were finally reversed today after he made his podium debut in the United States Grand Prix. He delivered an outstanding performance throughout the incident-filled 73-lap race, remaining calm and collected as he reeled in the result that has been eluding him all season.
By contrast, Jenson Button experienced his first retirement of the season, suffering a mechanical problem with the gearbox after 26 laps.
At times Takuma was the fastest driver on the track, underlining B*A*R's continued improvement. His result notched up a further six points for himself and the team, taking B*A*R to within eight points of second place in the Constructors' Championship and promoting himself to seventh in the Drivers' standings, whilst Jenson remains third despite his retirement.
"This is an incredible feeling. A result we have worked hard for and pushed so hard to achieve for so long. I feel very proud for the team, Honda and all the partners. They have been pushing so hard to try to resolve the problems I have been experiencing. I had a strong race and the car just felt beautiful. It was so consistent so I have to thank Michelin for all their efforts too."
"I was a little surprised by what happened at the start and then losing my position to Alonso. Then the very concerning circumstances on track made things very confusing. After the two safety cars I felt I had the car to fight to get my position back. I had a good battle with a few drivers, then later in the race saw Jarno hesitate on the oil flag so I took my opportunity. The last few races have been very tough for the team with the back-to-backs and our problems, so I'm absolutely thrilled to have this way of thanking everyone."
"It was a pretty dramatic race, but my start wasn't very good and I lost two places to Alonso and Raikkonen. After the first safety car our car was working very well, but I was stuck behind Raikkonen. Then we had the second safety car, when Ralf had his big accident. We decided to stay out, instead of pitting under the safety car, and I support the team's decision to do that - it was the right thing to do. Then we sat behind Michael for about six laps before our pitstop. The car was working well and was very stable, especially under braking. The traction was exceptional, so it was disappointing that we were not able to finish the race because I think that it could have been a very interesting result."
David Richards, Team Principal:
"A great day both for Taku and the team; the first podium for him and seven podiums for the team out of nine races. At the same time we are still in need of a greater level of consistency, and Jenson's failure was a missed opportunity. As we head back to Europe at the half-way point of the season I am pleased with the progress we have made, and in particular how Honda and Michelin have worked so well as a team to continue development during the year. As for the rest of the season, I think that we have a real battle on our hands but we will clearly be aiming for even greater things in the next nine races."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director:
"Congratulations to Takuma on a well-earned first podium place in a very dramatic race. We had very poor starts, particularly Jenson, but after that our car was extremely quick but unfortunately we did not get the opportunity to race the Ferraris. The situation was complex; we decided not to pit at the second safety car and this should have worked well for us had Schumacher not managed to get back out in front of us behind the safety car. After that, both cars were held up by the Ferraris until our first planned stops. "
"After Jenson's first stop it was clear that we had problems with his gearbox so we had to retire his car. Takuma was consistently very fast throughout the rest of the race and quickly caught up Trulli, who made a mistake allowing Takuma to pass him for third place."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"I have to say congratulations to Takuma for his drive today - he battled hard for the whole race and really deserves his first podium finish. I feel for Jenson as he could have had a strong result as well. I am also particularly pleased to hear that Ralf is OK."
Chassis: BAR Honda 006-05
Position: DNF (26 laps)
Fastest lap: 1:11.025
Chassis: BAR Honda 006-03
Fastest lap: 1:10.727