Button 12th, Barrichello 18th on Hungarian grid
The Honda Racing F1 Team experienced mixed fortunes today in the qualifying session for tomorrrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix. Jenson Button made it through to Q2 once again and will start tomorrow’s 70-lap race in a creditable 12th position. Rubens was pushing a little too hard on his flying lap which forced a mistake under braking. He will start the race from 18th place.
When the two drivers ventured out for the start of Q1 they set near identical times using the Bridgestone Potenza super soft tyres. Jenson was marginally the quicker of the two, setting a time of 1:21.432s, while Rubens was just 0.034s adrift. They both continued to improve on the second run when Jenson switched to the prime tyre. Rubens set a lap of 1:21.332s, which placed him 16th, before Jenson posted a time of 1:21.099s shortly after.
With five minutes of Q1 remaining, the times were still exceptionally close and all 20 cars were on-track at the same time in the dying moments. Rubens was simply pushing as hard as he possibly could and a mistake cost him the lap. Jenson found some free air and improved his fastest time to 1:20.888s, which placed him 15th and 0.2s ahead of Heidfeld.
Jenson continued to fine-tune his RA108 throughout Q2 and he set his fastest lap of the weekend - 1:20.332s - with just seconds of the session remaining. His resulting 12th place today is his best grid position since the Monaco Grand Prix in May.
P12. You must be very pleased?
"I'm happy to have qualified in P12 today after a good lap on the final run in Q2 pushed me a few places up the grid. We've definitely made some progress with the new developments to the car and in particular the new rear suspension is working well and this has enabled us to improve the car step by step over the weekend. I got the most out of the car today and it's encouraging to see we were only three-tenths away from the top ten as it has been a while since we were that close. I'm on the dirty side of the grid, which is a disadvantage, but I am sure we can have a good race tomorrow from here nonetheless."
Rubens, a disappointing result for you today. Where did it go wrong?
"Choosing which tyre to run was a really tough decision today and it was a difficult qualifying session. I felt the supersoft option tyre was working slightly better with the car so I stayed with that for my final run. After a good first sector, I went in too quick for turn 11 and made a mistake which ruined my lap. With that went the chance to progress to Q2 and the time from my previous run puts me in 18th place on the grid. The lap was going quite well but a mistake at turn 11 meant that I had to abort the lap. I have to settle for 18th place today and turn my focus now to the race.”
Steve Clark, Head of Race & Test Engineering:
Is Jenson’s result today a good reflection of your current performance level following the introduction of your new car developments this weekend?
“P12 is where we hoped to be today so, yes, we have moved a little closer to the middle order again. The new mechanical developments have brought us improved stability and that has enabled us to achieve a better balance on the car this weekend. Due credit to Jenson as he delivered a particularly good lap when it counted and we have reason to feel optimistic about tomorrow’s race.”
How can you make the best of your grid positions and target an improved result in tomorrow’s race?
“Unfortunately both cars will be starting from the dirty side of the grid, so holding position into the first corner will be key. From there, with a free fuel allowance Jenson is in a good position to target the top ten with a good strategy and strong pitstops. For Rubens it is likely to be a difficult race in the absence of safety cars or other incidents, so we have to stay sharp and be ready to take advantage of whatever opportunities may present themselves.”