FIA Formula One World Championship - Round 11 British GP, 9-11 July 2004 Race
B.A.R Honda's Jenson Button Finishes Fourth In Home Race
Button and Sato cross the line fourth and 11th in British Grand Prix
Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda's Jenson Button drove a solid race to cross the line fourth in today's 60 lap British Grand Prix at Silverstone while team-mate Takuma Sato finished 11th.
Local hero Jenson Button got away well from the second row, holding P3 off the grid and keeping Michael Schumacher's Ferrari at bay. Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) was the first man to pit on lap nine, moving the British driver up into second place, which is where he pitted from for his first of three scheduled stops on lap 11. Swift work by the B.A.R Honda pit crew meant Button rejoined the action ahead of the Brazilian in seventh position, moving back up into P3 by lap 17 as the first round of stops was completed.
This work was undone during the second pit stop sequence, which started on lap 27, when Button was leap-frogged by Barrichello, pushing the Briton back to fourth place behind the Ferrari on lap 30. 10 laps later the second to eighth placed drivers took advantage of the first and only safety car period, which was deployed as Renault's Jarno Trulli spun off dramatically at the exit of Bridge, to come in for their third stop. Button had a go at Barrichello as the race action began again on lap 44 but ultimately had to settle for P4 as the Brazilian started to pull away. Having started his home race from third on the grid, Honda-powered Button drove a solid race and crossed the line fourth to collect five valuable championship points.
Button's Japanese team-mate Takuma Sato made an aggressive start, diving past Juan Pablo Montoya's Williams for P7 on the first lap, but he ran wide through Becketts on lap three and the Colombian snuck through. By lap 12 the B.A.R Honda driver was running in third place as those ahead of him pitted, coming in for his first of two scheduled stops on lap 15, by which time he was being held up in traffic. Sato rejoined in 14th position behind Sauber's Felipe Massa and was running in 10th place by the time he came in for his second stop on lap 36, rejoining the action in 14th and moving up into 11th by lap 41 as the second round of stops unfolded. It was a fairly uneventful final stint for Sato, whose strategy suffered during the safety car period, and the B.A.R Honda driver went on to finish the race 11th having started eighth on the grid.
In dry but fairly overcast conditions (17 degrees) Michael Schumacher won the British Grand Prix (his 80th F1 career victory) followed by pole sitter McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello. B.A.R Honda's Jenson Button, Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya and Sauber's Giancarlo Fisichella crossed the line fourth, fifth and sixth while David Coulthard (McLaren) and Jaguar's Mark Webber finished seventh and eighth.
Jenson Button Position: 4th
"We came into this race expecting a lot more than we've been able to deliver; today's race performance was nowhere near our testing performance earlier in the year. We really struggled with a lack of grip compared to the Ferraris and it was like we were in a different race in terms of the way our car was handling. Our pace showed that we weren't as quick today as we were at the start of the season. Somehow we've managed to drop behind a bit which is very disappointing, particularly in front of our home crowd. We've got a lot of work to do now ahead of the German Grand Prix in two weeks' time. We should be able to expect better traction in Hockenheim than we experienced here and a stronger performance generally from our new car developments."
Takuma Sato Position: 11th
"It's been a tough race today and a tough weekend generally. We are obviously very disappointed that we were unable to achieve our targets for this race, especially in front of all of the team's British fans. It was a risk to choose different strategies for the two cars but we thought it would provide us with an opportunity to react to any change in the weather. Unfortunately our two-stop strategy didn't work in the way that we anticipated. On the positive side however, the car stayed reliable throughout the race, which is a small step forward from the problems I have experienced this season. We have to put this weekend behind us now and focus on what we can do at next week's Jerez test to improve for Germany and the rest of the season."
Shuhei Nakamoto – Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development
"We are a little bit disappointed with our result today as we wanted to get onto the podium this weekend. Having said that, Jenson drove very well and I think he got the most he could out of the package we gave him. We will continue to push and will have another engine upgrade in Germany which I hope will help us to get closer to the front."
||C Da Matta