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 Date: July 02, 2004 16:35
 Submitted by:  JeffX
 Source: Honda F1 Racing PR
 Credibility Rating: N/A



FIA Formula One World Championship - Round 10 French GP, 2-4 July 2004 Free Practice

Davidson, Button and Sato finish third, fourth and 17th in France

Despite rain-afflicted sessions and changeable track conditions in Friday Free Practice at Magny-Cours, Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda's third driver Anthony Davidson was once again on fine form, setting the wet running pace in the morning and the third fastest time of the afternoon in preparation for the French Grand Prix on Sunday. B.A.R Honda race driver Jenson Button finished the afternoon just behind Davidson in fourth position while team-mate Takuma Sato ended the afternoon 17th.

Eight drivers set dry lap times in the first 60 minute practice session this morning before the heavens opened 15 minutes in. Davidson recorded the ninth fastest time of 1m26.552s in his B.A.R Honda 006, setting the pace in the wet. When the hour-long afternoon session got underway the track was still damp but it dried quickly allowing some of the field to get in decent lap times. The showers started again with just under half of the session left. As the rain eased off, Davidson was back on track in the final minutes of the session to clock a 1m16.231s and set the third fastest time.

Button, who finished 12th in the morning session, clocked a best lap of 1m16.397s around the 2.741miles/4.411km Magny-Cours circuit and ended the afternoon in fourth place, just behind third driver Davidson. B.A.R Honda's Takuma Sato did not have such a productive day, finishing the morning session 16th and ending the afternoon 17th with a best time of 1m17.967s.

Due to the wet conditions today, the teams have been given until noon tomorrow (Saturday) to make their final tyre compound selections, which is usually decided on the first day of a Grand Prix weekend.

Cristiano Da Matta (Toyota) set the fastest time this afternoon, followed by Renault's Jarno Trulli and the B.A.R Honda pairing of Anthony Davidson and Jenson Button. The fifth and sixth fastest times were set by Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) and Fernando Alonso (Renault) while McLaren's David Coulthard and Jaguar's Mark Webber ended the afternoon seventh and eighth.

Anthony Davidson Position: 3rd
"The rain has been a little frustrating today but not entirely unexpected. We haven't been able to get anywhere near as much running as we'd hoped but sufficient dry running for what is likely to be a dry but cool weekend ahead. The car felt good in all conditions and I was comfortable pushing hard all day. Once again it feels good to be the fastest of the third drivers today and P3 in the second session."

Jenson Button Position: 4th
"We normally run a longer programme, but there have been such changeable weather conditions, with a lot of stopping and starting, so we haven't achieved all we had hoped for. Luckily we got all three cars out in the dry and we can choose our tyres after tomorrow's free practice. I think that we have a good tyre, and the car really feels good. We just need to make a few adjustments to the set-up and I think that we will be up there tomorrow pushing hard with Ferrari."

Takuma Sato Position: 17th
"We were not able to do much running due to the changeable weather but we were at least able to run our dry tyre session which will be useful considering that the rest of the weekend is expected to be dry. We had a productive test at Jerez, so we are confident for tomorrow and we now have to see what the weather brings in order to make our tyre choice somewhat later than usual after free practice tomorrow. I am really looking forward to another strong weekend like we had at Indianapolis."

Shuhei Nakamoto Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development: "I was pleased to see that our drivers were quick in such changeable weather conditions. It doesn't worry me that we haven't done too much dry running today as everyone is in the same position."

Pos Driver Team No. Gaps/Laps Ave.Speed
1 C Da Matta Toyota 16 1'15"518 210.276
2 J Trulli Renault 7 1'16"206 + 0'00"688
3 A Davidson BAR Honda 35 1'16"231 + 0'00"713
4 J Button BAR Honda 9 1'16"397 + 0'00"879
5 M Schumacher Ferrari 1 1'16"397 + 0'00"879
6 F Alonso Renault 8 1'16"454 + 0'00"936
7 D Coulthard Mc Laren Mercedes 4 1'16"464 + 0'00"946
8 M Webber Jaguar 14 1'16"745 + 0'01"227
9 K Raikkonen Mc Laren Mercedes 6 1'16"794 + 0'01"276
10 R Barrichello Ferrari 2 1'17"094 + 0'01"576
11 O Panis Toyota 17 1'17"303 + 0'01"785
12 G Fisichella Sauber Petronas 11 1'17"324 + 0'01"806
13 JP Montoya Williams BMW 3 1'17"556 + 0'02"038
14 M Gene Williams BMW 4 1'17"688 + 0'02"170
15 R Zonta Toyota 38 1'17"735 + 0'02"217
16 C Klien Jaguar 15 1'17"936 + 0'02"418
17 T Sato BAR Honda 10 1'17"967 + 0'02"449
18 F Massa Sauber Petronas 12 1'18"614 + 0'03"096
19 G Pantano Jordan Ford 19 1'18"711 + 0'03"193
20 B Wirdheim Jaguar 37 1'19"179 + 0'03"661
21 N Heidfeld Jordan Ford 18 1'19"270 + 0'03"752
22 G Bruni Minardi 20 1'19"349 + 0'03"831
23 T Glock Jordan Ford 39 1'19"490 + 0'03"972
24 Z Baumgartner Minardi 21 1'19"636 + 0'04"118
25 B Leinders Minardi 40 1'19"914 + 0'04"396

Last edited by JeffX on July 02, 2004 16:39

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