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Formula 1July 6, 2003
Formula One World Championship
Round 10: French Grand Prix

HONDA DRIVER FINISHES NINTH AT MAGNY-COURS
Villeneuve crosses the line ninth, Button retires on lap 21


Lucky Strike BAR Honda's Jacques Villeneuve was ninth at the French Grand Prix, just missing out on a points finish, while teammate Jenson Button's race was over on lap 21 when his car ran out of fuel due to a problem with the fuel rig during his first pit stop.

The weather remained warm but fairly cloudy at Magny-Cours (air 24 degrees, track 29 degrees) for the start of the 70-lap race. Villeneuve held 12th position off the grid but moved up into 11th on lap two as Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello spun off the track and rejoined at the back of the pack. By the 15th lap Villeneuve was running in eighth place as the first round of pit stops got underway.

The Canadian came in for his first of three scheduled pit stops on lap 18, rejoining in 14th position and then climbing to ninth place by lap 36. One lap later the BAR Honda driver pitted for fuel and tyres and was back out on track in 13th position. Villeneuve was running in ninth place by lap 54 and, after a quick and tidy stop, rejoined the field in the same position behind Toyota's Olivier Panis. With 15 laps remaining a points finish was in sight for the Canadian, but he couldn't reel in former teammate Panis and went on to cross the line ninth, having started 12th on the grid.

Jenson Button made up one place to 13th at the start and moved up into 12th position on lap two due to Barrichello's spin. The Briton fought his way up to ninth place during the first round of pit stops and came in for his first scheduled stop on lap 17. The first pit stop sequence was completed by lap 20 and Button now found himself running in 12th position again. A problem with the fuel rig, however, meant he didn't take on the correct amount of fuel during his stop, and the BAR Honda 005 ran out of fuel on lap 21.

It was another Williams one-two for Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya at the Circuit de Nevers, followed by Ferrari's Michael Schumacher and McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen. David Coulthard in the second McLaren and Mark Webber of Jaguar finished fifth and sixth while Barrichello and Panis crossed the line seventh and eighth.

Shuhei Nakamoto - Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development
"Jacques did well to finish ninth having started 12th on the grid, but it's clearly frustrating to just miss out on points. It was obviously an exasperating afternoon for Jenson. We're all looking forward to a productive test in Barcelona next week and of course the team's home race at Silverstone, where we'll be working hard to give the local fans and all our staff a good result."

Jacques Villeneuve Position: 9th
"The balance of the car was good today and the Honda engine worked well. Of course I am happy to have finished a race without any technical problems but ending up ninth is pretty frustrating. I am pleased with how the car has been working but the limiting factor was the tyres today and there's nothing more that we could do. I'm looking forward to Silverstone, where we hope to be more competitive."

Jenson Button Position: DNF
"It's obviously very disappointing to retire from a race because of a problem like this. It's been a tough weekend but the team put the problems behind them and made the best of things. The race was going well; we were slow but the balance was good. I got a bit of oversteer after four or five laps but then the balance seemed to come back soon after. I was made aware by the team that there was a fuel delivery problem but then the car stopped out on track before I had time to make another pitstop. I'm looking forward to our home race in two weeks' time when I hope the development work we've been doing with the engine and aerodynamics will see us improving for the rest of the season."


Formula One World Championship
Round 10: French Grand Prix


line
1 Ralf Schumacher (Williams BMW)
2 Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams BMW)
3 Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)
4 Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren Mercedes)
5 David Coulthard (McLaren Mercedes)
6 Mark Webber (Jaguar)
7 Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari)
8 Olivier Panis (Toyota)
9 Jacques Villeneuve (B·A·R Honda)
10 Antonio Pizzonia (Jaguar)
RT Jenson Button (B·A·R Honda)
J.Villeneuve
J.Villeneuve
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