|Formula One World Championship
Round 3: Brazil (Interlagos)
SATO RACES TO NINTH IN BRAZIL
| Takuma Sato and DHL
Jordan Honda recorded ninth place in today's Brazilian Grand Prix, while Jacques
Villeneuve (Lucky Strike B·A·R Honda) was classified 10th despite an engine fault
forcing him to retire with one lap to go. B·A·R Honda team-mate Olivier Panis
was forced out of the action on lap 26 due to a gearbox problem. The second Jordan
Honda of Giancarlo Fisichella stopped on lap six due to engine failure.
The hot weather continued and the track temperature soared to 40 degrees as the Brazilian Grand Prix got underway at Interlagos in Sao Paulo. Jordan Honda's Fisichella, who was on a two-stop strategy at the start of the race, lost a few places due to a bad start and was then forced to pit on lap one after some carbon fibre debris from the accident between Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya and Michael Schumacher of Ferrari damaged his car. Montoya lost his front wing after running into Schumacher as they fought for the lead. Having pitted for a new front wing and a new set of tyres, Fisichella rejoined the race in 21st position, only to retire five laps later due to engine failure.
B·A·R Honda's Panis was the only Honda-powered driver on a one-stop strategy for this race, but the Frenchman was forced out of the action on lap 26, before his scheduled pit-stop, with a gearbox problem. His B·A·R Honda team-mate Villeneuve battled with the Jaguars of Eddie Irvine and Pedro De La Rosa and rejoined behind them in 12th position after his second pit-stop. With three laps to go Villeneuve had moved up into eighth position, but two laps later he retired from the race with an engine fault. Jordan Honda's Takuma Sato pushed hard, remaining close to Villeneuve and fighting for position throughout the race. The Japanese driver, who started from 19th position on the grid, crossed the line in ninth place in a race in which 11 drivers failed to finish.
Ferrari's Michael Schumacher took victory in Brazil, after a race long battle with his brother Ralf (Williams), recording his second win of the season. McLaren's David Coulthard finished third with Jenson Button (Renault), Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) and Mika Salo (Toyota) completing the points scorers.
Shuhei Nakamoto - Race and Test Team Manager, Honda Racing Development
"We obviously had a really tough day today and I'm sorry that our engine stopped Giancarlo from finishing the race. Jacques and Takuma pushed hard all day and for Jacques to go out right at the end was tough on him. Olivier was the only Honda-powered driver to be one-stopping today, and it was a shame he didn't get a chance to show how that strategy would've worked out. We must continue to push to raise our game, starting at the tests in Valencia this week and then the race in San Marino."
Takuma Sato Position: 9th
"I really enjoyed the race and the two stop strategy worked well. The first lap was very exciting with a lot of action. I then pushed hard and I enjoyed a battle with Jaguar's Eddie Irvine & Pedro De La Rosa and BAR's Olivier Panis. I feel I coped physically very well with the race, although my neck muscles will feel a lot better after a massage! I am looking forward to beginning the races in Europe."
Jacques Villeneuve Position: DNF (classified 10th)
"The car was actually better in the race and a little faster than yesterday. I had a problem selecting first gear during the pitstop and lost maybe 5 seconds there. The car felt quite balanced but it just wasn't quick enough. I pushed as hard as I could but it was impossible to get any more out of it. Then we had an intermittent problem towards the end and the engine cut completely just a lap from the finish."
Olivier Panis Position: DNF
"We thought we had solved the reliability problems but obviously not because today I had gearbox failure. I don't know if I could have finished in the points but if you don't finish you don't get to find out. We really have to work hard on our reliability in testing next week before we can hope to move forward. If we can finish a race, we can at least take advantage of opportunities. I haven't finished in the first three races now and that's obviously not good, but I would like to think that I've had my run of bad luck now and the next few races can bring me better things."
Giancarlo Fisichella Position: DNF
"Today was not a good race for me. I started off with a problem with launch control so I had to start manually which lost me my grid position by a few places. On the first lap, some carbon fibre debris from the accident with Juan Pablo Montoya and Michael Schumacher damaged my front wing and I had to stop to change it. Finally I was forced to retire when the engine stopped. I haven't had a great start to the season, let's hope my luck changes for my home race in Imola."
Round 4 of the FIA Formula One World Championship is the San Marino Grand Prix on Sunday 14 April.
| Formula One World Championship
Round 3: Brazil (Interlagos)
(DHL Jordan Honda)