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Qually - BAR Honda Release

Jenson Button will lead Lucky Strike BAR Honda's challenge in the 2003 Malaysian Grand Prix after posting the 9th fastest lap in today's qualifying session. He starts tomorrow's race from the 5th row of the grid ahead of his teammate Jacques Villeneuve, who qualified 12th.

"It's nice to be inside the top 10 but I didn't think the lap was going to be as quick as it was; I was a little bit disappointed with it at the end," Jenson said."The first sector seemed good to me then I made a mistake in each of the last two sectors. I think the time I gained under braking led me to make those mistakes so I guess I was just pushing too hard. This is roughly where we'd expected to be after a difficult morning in which we veered between oversteer and too much understeer before it started to come together. I think we're running a good fuel load for tomorrow so I'm optimistic."

The scorching heat held throughout the crucial session, the forecast thunderstorms failing to materialise. Both drivers' laps were compromised by errors which cost them a couple of tenths each, but they are pleased with the balance of their respective cars and comfortable with their strategy for tomorrow's race.

"We've improved the car a lot during the weekend and the balance was quite good for qualifying but I made an error in the hairpin and lost some time," Jacques said. "Too bad, because the car was a lot better today. I'm a little less worried than I was yesterday but I'm starting from the 6th row of the grid which isn't going to help but I'm confident for tomorrow having concentrated on race set-up and strategy."

"A top 10 performance was possible for both drivers but the middle of the grid is so tight that a couple of mistakes can make a big difference," added Dave Richards. "Nonetheless, we are still well-placed for our strategy tomorrow and it will be interesting to see how the race unfolds."

"The target for a Saturday afternoon is to qualify to your strategy; to get exactly where you should be for your fuel load," concluded Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director. "The drivers are reasonably happy with where they've finished the session although both made mistakes and feel there was more in the car today. When all the strategies unfold tomorrow we'll see exactly what the relative performance is."

"We've had an encouraging day overall, but I don't think 9th and 12th is a true reflection of our pace," said Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development. "Both drivers did a good job and their performance today fits in with our race strategy. I'm optimistic - it's a very close grid and one way or another the weather is going to play a big part tomorrow."



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