Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda drivers Jenson Button and Jacques Villeneuve will be side-by-side on the sixth row of the grid for the start of tomorrow's United States Grand Prix after an encouraging final qualifying. Both drivers were just squeezed out...
Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda drivers Jenson Button and Jacques Villeneuve will be side-by-side on the sixth row of the grid for the start of tomorrow's United States Grand Prix after an encouraging final qualifying. Both drivers were just squeezed out of the top ten to set the 11th and 12th fastest laps of the session, although the times were particularly tight with just a second between Jenson and pole-sitter Raikkonen.
The temperamental weather conditions in Indianapolis played their part for a second day as the teams contended with a damp and 'green' track in free practice following last night's torrential downpour and with cool temperatures compromising grip. The track temperature ran at a minimum of 8°C this morning - the coolest of the season so far - peaking at 34°C during the qualifying hour. The ambient temperature reached a maximum 20°C. Jacques was the fifth driver out on track, whilst his team-mate Jenson left the pitlane 11th in line.
"We finally got on top of the set-up with my car this morning and it was working reasonably well. By the time we got to warm-up, the wind had picked up, the track temperature had increased and like most people I found myself with a different car. It wasn't too bad in qualifying; the balance was there but we're still finding grip hard to come by. I think we'll be quite strong in the race and we'll be fighting for valuable points."
"We've had some trouble with the driveability of the car this weekend, mainly due to lack of grip, and this morning it was very close to being undriveable. It was a little better in warm-up then we made some changes prior to qualifying, which is always a bit of a gamble. It helped the car a lot and finally I had grip. There was still some time left in it because that's the first lap I've done all weekend where the car has been working well. The car will be good for the race but if we had found the set-up much earlier we would be a few tenths quicker than we are now."
David Richards, Team Principal:
"The team did an excellent job overnight to overcome a difficult start to our weekend and their efforts paid dividends today with a strong qualifying performance from both cars and fault-free laps from Jacques and Jenson. Starting side-by-side from the middle of the grid tomorrow, and with the possibility of showers during the race, we can expect to see them both fighting hard to deliver a crucial points boost for the team."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director:
"After a difficult day yesterday we decided to make some substantial changes to car set-up overnight and after some further experimentation we finally managed to achieve a much more competitive car. The track temperatures changed considerably during the morning practice and warm-up, forcing us to make some last-minute changes, which worked well. Both drivers qualified well and we look forward to seeing what unfolds in the race tomorrow when we must continue our fight to secure fifth place in the Championship."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"Both drivers put in decent laps this afternoon. We're just outside the top ten - the times are really tight and it was a very close session. We're in with a shout tomorrow and I'm sure Jacques and Jenson will be fighting hard to pick up some more points."
Chassis: BAR Honda 005-6
Lap time: 1:13.050
Chassis: BAR Honda 005-4
Lap time: 1:12.695