Sato and Button cross the line fifth and eighth at Spanish GP
Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda's Takuma Sato and Jenson Button both drove assured races to claim a points finish in this afternoon's Spanish Grand Prix, bringing their cars home in fifth and eighth position respectively.
Starting from a career best third place, Sato shot off the grid and managed to snatch second from Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams), only to lose out when Renault's Jarno Trulli stormed into the lead of the Spanish Grand Prix from fourth on the grid, diving past Montoya, Sato and the Ferrari of pole sitter Michael Schumacher. The Honda-powered Japanese driver ran in third position until the first round of pit stops when he emerged in fifth. Sato ran in fourth position for a brief nine lap spell as those ahead started to pit again, but was back in fifth place after his own second stop on lap 26.
Overall it was a fairly uneventful race for the Japanese driver, who came in for his third and final stop on lap 45, rejoining in a familiar fifth position. Despite his best attempts to catch Fernando Alonso's Renault in the final third of the race, Sato crossed the line fifth, equalling his best-ever finish and picking up four valuable championship points for himself and the team.
After the excitement of three consecutive podium finishes, today's race was pretty ordinary for Jenson Button. The B.A.R Honda star got away smoothly from the seventh row and managed to move up one spot to 13th on lap three as he overtook the Toyota of Cristiano Da Matta. Following a fairly lengthy pit stop on lap 10, the Briton rejoined in 14th place, moving up to 10th position by lap 23 as Giorgio Pantano, Juan Pablo Montoya, Christian Klien retired from the action and the pit stop sequence was completed.
Button left the track for his second and third stops on lap 25 and 44, running in tenth for the majority of the second stint. Montoya's retirement on lap 47 and Felipe Massa's pit stop moved Button up to eighth, which is where he remained until the chequered flag. The Honda-powered driver's run of three consecutive podium finishes therefore came to an end, but the Briton was able to pick up a vital world championship point for his day's work.
Michael Schumacher won the 66 lap Spanish Grand Prix, his 200th race, and was joined on the podium by Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello and Renault's Jarno Trulli. Fernando Alonso (Renault), B.A.R Honda's Takuma Sato and Williams' Ralf Schumacher finished fourth, fifth and sixth while Giancarlo Fisichella (Sauber) and B.A.R Honda's Jenson Button complete the point scoring positions.
Shuhei Nakamoto Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development
"Although we are disappointed with our performance this weekend we have to remember how far we have come this year both cars have raced into the points today and we leave Spain third in the constructors' world championship."
Takuma Sato Position: 5th
"I made a good start and it was very exciting to be so close to the front of the grid. I was amazed by Trulli's start though - I don't know how they did that! Obviously I'm a little disappointed that we started from third and finished fifth, but both Jenson and I really struggled with consistency after each tyre change. We did our best though and we have achieved some valuable points for the team. It was a tough race but I'm looking forward to Monaco now. We are testing in Paul Ricard next week and I think we can be optimistic of another good result there."
Jenson Button Position: 8th
"I didn't get a very good start then I was a little disappointed with the first stint because it just wasn't possible to overtake. I really struggled to be honest. I lost so much time in the high-speed corners because when you're so close to the other cars you lose a lot of downforce. We had good straight-line speed so we thought we would be able to overtake them in the straights but I had no chance; overtaking is so difficult here. Considering where I started, I am pleased to have been able to salvage a point here. I'm really looking forward to Monaco though. I think we'll have a good package there and hopefully we can translate that into a good result."
||C Da Matta