Small step forward for Honda
The Honda Racing F1 Team's Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello brought their cars home in 12th and 16th places respectively in today's Hungarian Grand Prix. Whilst the team were unable to add to their points tally today, the weekend has brought a small step forward in terms of performance following the introduction of new car developments.
At the start, the clean side of the grid proved to hold a big advantage. Rubens made a strong get-away from 17th to be 13th by Turn 1, while Jenson got bogged down in the dust surrounding his 12th place grid position and ended the opening lap in 14th place.
Running on the prime tyre, both drivers were held up by Heidfeld for the early stages of the race. Jenson made his first pitstop on lap 32, from which he emerged in 15th place. Rubens' first stop a couple of laps later proved to be the defining moment of his race because he was delayed by a problem while refuelling and dropped to 19th position. Both RA108s were once again on Bridgestone's harder tyre for this middle segment of the race and both lapped consistently and quickly, as they had on their long runs during Friday practice.
The team's second and final pitstops passed smoothly when both drivers switched to the option tyre. Jenson stopped on lap 52, rejoining the race in 13th place; Rubens stopped two laps later and ran in 17th position until the chequered flag on lap 70.Jenson Button:
Jenson, talk us through your Hungarian Grand Prix weekend?
"Looking at the weekend as a whole, we have made good progress and can take a lot away from here. Unfortunately the race was frustrating. I made it tough for myself with a poor start, which dropped me down to P14 after the first couple of corners. I got boxed in at Turn 1 and had a lot of wheelspin out of the corner, which allowed a few people to get past on the outside. I was able to get past Rubens on lap three, which was fun, but after that I quickly came up to the back of Heidfeld. He was very strong on the last two corners so I had no chance to overtake on the track and he was on a one-stop strategy. However in clean air, our pace was good, so this weekend is a definite step forward and I am reasonably happy with the outcome."Rubens Barrichello:
A frustrating day for you Rubens?
"After a good start where I made up four positions on the opening lap, unfortunately it wasn't a very exciting race for me. We decided to start with used front and new rear tyres which proved to be a problem as the car was out of balance for the first stint. Then at my first pitstop we were unlucky to have the problem with the rig which resulted in a small fire and a long delay whilst we got fuel into the car using the second rig. After that, my race was effectively over as the number of blue flags made it impossible to make progress. We decided to drop the revs on the engine and do some testing with the tyres as we had overheating problems over the weekend and it was good to collect some data on this. For me the actual race was one to forget really."Ross Brawn, Team Principal:
No points today but there were still signs of progress this weekend?
"Today's race was never going to be easy from our grid positions. From the first lap both drivers were held up by Heidfeld who was running on a different strategy and this prevented them from using their true pace. The new developments that we brought to Hungary have definitely helped us to improve the performance of the car. As is always the case though, the rest of the field isn't standing still and we do not yet have the pace to score points on our own merit."With three weeks before the next race and the traditional August break, does car development effectively come to a stand-still?
"Far from it. It's true that the break will give the Race Team members some well-earned respite from what is a fairly gruelling schedule, however the staff at our bases in Brackley, Bracknell and Tochigi will all be pushing on to help us improve our competitiveness for Valencia."