|Formula One World Championship Round 8
Round 8 : Canada (Gilles Villeneuve)
TOP TEN FINISHES FOR HONDA IN CANADA
Giancarlo Fisichella and DHL Jordan Honda recorded fifth place in today's Canadian Grand Prix while Olivier Panis (Lucky Strike B·A·R Honda) crossed the line in eighth position. Jordan Honda's Takuma Sato finished 10th, but B·A·R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve retired from the action on lap eight after his engine overheated and shut down.
Jordan Honda's Giancarlo Fisichella suffered a clutch problem at the start which cost him two places off the grid. The Jordan Honda driver then remained in eighth place behind Sauber's Nick Heidfeld until lap 38 when he moved up into seventh position as Heidfeld pitted. Four laps later Fisichella gained another place following the pit stop of Ralf Schumacher (Williams). The Italian came into the pits on lap 45 for his one scheduled stop after opting for a long first stint. He rejoined in sixth place and moved up into fifth spot when Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) retired from the race on lap 56. Fisichella continued his fine race form to gradually reel in the McLaren of Kimi Raikkonen, but ultimately had to settle for fifth position, just over five seconds adrift of the Finn, at the same time recording his third consecutive points scoring finish.
B·A·R Honda's Olivier Panis had a better start from 11th on the grid, but lost one place and by lap 10 had fallen back to 15th place after being overtaken by the two-stopping Toyota of Mika Salo, Jordan Honda's Takuma Sato, Sauber's Felipe Massa and the Arrows of Enrique Bernoldi. In the course of his rivals' first set of pit stops, Olivier made good progress and moved up to the ninth spot by lap 40, the Frenchman coming in for his own scheduled pit stop on lap 41 and rejoining the action in 12th position. During the second set of pit stops the B·A·R Honda driver made his way up into eighth place, and benefited from Montoya's exit on lap 56. Although he fought hard, however, Panis couldn't close the gap between himself and Ralf Schumacher to less than 30 seconds, and went on to finish the race in eighth position from 11th on the grid.
Jordan Honda's Takuma Sato lost one place off the line, but recovered quickly to move up into 14th position by the end of the second lap, just behind Salo. Four laps later Sato made up another place when he overtook Salo and then Villeneuve for 12th position on lap eight. The Japanese driver took advantage of the safety car period to carry out his first of two pit stops on lap 14, rejoining the action in 19th place. By lap 31 the Jordan Honda driver had moved up into 16th position, ahead of Minardi's Alex Yoong, Toyota's Mika Salo and the Arrows of Heinz Harald Frentzen. He progressed another eight places by lap 45 as a number of drivers ahead of him pitted. Sato came in for his second scheduled pit stop on lap 46 from eighth position and rejoined in 13th place just behind Heidfeld. With three laps to go, Sato was in 10th position, following a stop-go penalty for Heidfeld and the retirement of Montoya and Jenson Button (Renault). He went on to cross the line in 10th place having progressed from 15th position on the grid.
B·A·R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve's race was short lived. He was running a heavy fuel load for a one stop strategy and, having lost a couple of places at the start, was overtaken by Mika Salo (Toyota) on lap six and Jordan Honda's Takuma Sato two laps later. He subsequently retired from the action on lap eight when his engine overheated and failed.
Sunny Montreal enjoyed temperatures of up to 25 degrees as Ferrari's Michael Schumacher took the chequered flag, finishing ahead of David Coulthard (McLaren) and team-mate Rubens Barrichello. McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen and Jordan Honda's Giancarlo Fisichella finished fourth and fifth with Jarno Trulli (Renault) completing the point scoring positions.
Shuhei Nakamoto - Race and Test Team Manager, Honda Racing Development
"It's good to see three Honda-powered cars finish in the top ten. Giancarlo has once again driven a really strong race and secured his third points scoring finish in a row. I think that Olivier and Takuma also deserve credit by racing to several places above their qualifying positions. It wasn't, however, so good for Jacques as I feel we let him down in front of his home fans when his engine overheated. I feel happy that we've made a little progress here so I hope we can maintain our momentum at the Nurburgring."
Giancarlo Fisichella Position: 5th
"Scoring two more points has made this another good day for us. The car was quite competitive, especially just before my pit stop. We had good balance overall and I was even quicker than Raikkonen at the end, but I preferred keeping fifth position to the risk of trying to catch and pass him. I have always been very confident at this circuit and today our hard work of finding the right balance and downforce level has paid off."
Olivier Panis Position: 8th
"I'm relieved to finally finish a race after such a bad start to my season. It was very tough today but the car was reliable and I think we chose the right strategy for us. I was obviously running heavy at the start so I lost some places to some two-stoppers. It would have been nicer to get a point for the team but I'm pleased to see the progress we have made this weekend. I want to thank the team for the effort they put into this race. We know where we are with the new car now so we have to keep pushing and continue to improve so we can get both cars to the finish."
Takuma Sato Position: 10th
"I'm pleased to bring the car home and I would like to congratulate Giancarlo on scoring two points. I had a difficult start, losing a position at the first corner, but later I really enjoyed overtaking the BAR and the Jaguar. We took the opportunity to pit when the safety car came out, but my second set of tyres didn't behave quite the same as the first set and I lost almost a second a lap, struggling with oversteer. The last stint was okay and I was in good shape to push very hard. It's reassuring to know that we have consistent reliability and now I'm looking forward because although tenth isn't bad, I hope to score points soon."
Jacques Villeneuve Position: DNF
"Obviously I'm disappointed not to finish my home Grand Prix again, especially just 8 laps into the race. We were running heavy for a one-stop strategy so I lost places at the beginning. Then we had the first signs of a loss of oil pressure and a couple of laps later the engine stopped. It's frustrating to have such a bad race after the improvement we saw in qualifying."
Round 9 of the FIA Formula One World Championship is the European Grand Prix on Sunday 23 June.
| Formula One World Championship Round 8
Round 8 : Canada (Gilles Villeneuve)