|BEST COMBINED QUALIFYING FOR HONDA POWER
Fisico waiting next to his car
Fisichella and Panis qualify on the third and fourth row for German Grand Prix. Giancarlo qualified in sixth position for tomorrow's grid of the German Grand Prix while Olivier will start from seventh place. Jacques and Takuma will line up in 11th and 12th positions respectively.
BAR pitwall during qually
Takuma Sato was the first of the Honda-powered quartet to take to the track, fifteen minutes into the qualifying hour. The Japanese driver was quickly followed by B.A.R Honda's Olivier Panis and shortly afterwards Jacques Villeneuve. Giancarlo Fisichella waited 25 minutes before going out for his first run. The Jordan Honda duo completed four sets of three laps while the B.A.R Honda pairing only managed three flying laps.
Sato on the track during qually
Giancarlo Fisichella set his best lap on his second outing, finishing the day as the fastest of the four Honda-powered drivers and the top Bridgestone runner after the two Ferraris. The Italian set a best time of 1m15.690s, which was six tenths of a second faster than his first outing, finally placing him in sixth position on the third row of the grid, equalling his best qualifying performance this season.
Olivier Panis will start from the fourth row of the grid in seventh position, which is his best position on the grid so far this year. Panis set a best time of 1m15.851s, also on his second attack, an improvement of two tenths of a second on his first flying lap. He aborted his first qualifying run as he wasn't completely comfortable with the driveability of the car. His team-mate Jacques Villeneuve's best lap of 1m16.070s was set on his third run, an improvement of almost a second and a half on his initial time, placing the Canadian 11th on the grid. Villeneuve aborted his last flying lap because he was held up by Coulthard.
Villeneuve on the track
Takuma Sato recorded his best time of 1m16.072s on his final attack, placing the Jordan Honda driver in 12th position on the grid, his best performance of the season so far. Sato improved on his first timed lap by over a second and a half and will start tomorrow's race from the sixth row.
Shuhei Nakamoto, Race and Test Team Manager:
"A good qualifying session today – our best this year – with two of the Honda-powered drivers securing six and seventh on the grid. I'm very happy that we didn't have any engine problems today, particularly because we were running the highest revs so far this season. I'm encouraged by the competitive lap times and as long as our drivers have a clean start tomorrow we've got a good chance of scoring some more points."
Giancarlo Fisichella Position:
"Fantastic. I am very pleased. This morning I didn't believe we could be sixth, although I was confident that we could be in the top ten. Top six is really good and we actually had the chance to be fifth. I worked very well with my engineer, the team did a good job and the step forward with the engine was an especially good help. It's been a good day because the engine, the car and the tyres all came together, and I drove it well."
Olivier Panis Position:
"I'm delighted with 7th place today. I'm also very pleased for the team because they have worked very hard to make another step forward. I'm particularly happy for Honda because again we've seen the results of their efforts and signs that they have made another step in the right direction. We used the latest engine for the qualifying session and it was a big improvement on free practice this morning. I aborted my first qualifying run because it was clear we needed to fine-tune the driveability but, after that, I was able to continue to push throughout the next three runs. We will be using the same engine for the race tomorrow so I'm really optimistic that we can have a good race from where we are on the grid. We're in a good position now to fight for some points and I intend to make the most of that opportunity."
Jacques Villeneuve Position:
"The car wasn't bad at all today. Our tyre combination worked well and I'm pleased with the improvement that we saw with the engine in qualifying. Honda have been working very hard and we're starting to see real progress now. The problem today was with the traffic on my last run. The lap was quicker in the first two sectors but then I caught up with Coulthard for the last two corners and, instead of letting me by, he blocked me, which was very annoying as he was on his in-lap. As soon as I got so close to him I lost front aero which made me run wide and then spin the car. It's frustrating because it looks like we could see some very close racing tomorrow. I'm at the wrong end of the tenth today when I could have been inside the top ten had it not been for the problem on my last run."
Takuma Sato Position:
"Today brought good results for both of us. It was frustrating that I lost about 15 minutes during practice this morning due to a problem with the exhaust, because we spent some of the qualifying session improving the set-up and it was work that we should have done in practice. We managed to fix the oversteer problems I had at the beginning of qualifying but we could have improved more if we had started qualifying from a better position, so that was a shame. Still, this is my best qualifying result this season so I'm quite pleased. I will do my best in the race and hopefully I will get a better start."
"A very satisfactory qualifying session which provides a good indication of our potential for tomorrow as we've usually performed better in the race. Olivier's 7th place is the team's best qualifying performance of the season and Jacques was in fact only two tenths behind, albeit in 11th place. I am also pleased that all the hard work Honda have put into development over the past few months is now beginning to pay off. I'm hopeful for tomorrow and one thing we can be sure of is that the pit crew will maximise our chances of success as they have continually proven to gain an extra advantage on race day."