Formula One World Championship 2005
After promising so much, the Japanese Grand Prix ended in disappointment for B·A·R Honda. Jenson Button finished the 53-lap race in fifth place and local super.
Jenson, starting the race from second place, went to the grid in the knowledge that he had more fuel on board than polesitter Ralf Schumacher. He was hopeful of a strong performance – maybe even scoring B·A·R Honda’s first win – but he had to adjust his expectations almost immediately. Giancarlo Fisichella jumped ahead of him under braking for Turn 1 and, even worse news for the team, Takuma ran wide at Turn 1 and damaged his B·A·R Honda 007’s nose.
The Safety Car came out on lap two following a crash involving Juan Pablo Montoya, so Takuma pitted immediately for a new nose, re-joining 18th. The remainder of the field sat behind the Safety Car for the following five laps while the accident debris was tidied up and when the race re-started, Jenson circulated in third place and Takuma in 18th.
Takuma was involved in the next piece of excitement in the race when he clashed with Jarno Trulli at the chicane on lap 11. Trulli’s race ended on the spot, but Taku was able to continue, albeit with the handling of his B·A·R Honda 007 seriously awry. He eventually finished the race in 13th position.
At the front, race leader Ralf Schumacher was the first driver to pit, on lap 13. That moved Jenson up to second place and he took the lead when Fisichella also pitted on lap 20.
Jenson led the race for two laps, until he too made his first pitstop. He rejoined the race in fifth place, but still behind Ralf Schumacher and Fisichella. When all the stops had been completed, Jenson was back up to third place, but he began to suffer from tyre graining and lost ground to the cars behind.
When Ralf and Fisichella made their second stops before Jenson, he again moved into the lead on lap 38. But he had to pay close attention to Mark Webber, who was less than a second behind. The pair then made their second stops on the same lap and Mark came out in front.
With 10 laps remaining, Fernando Alonso also passed Jenson, moving the B·A·R Honda star down to seventh place. Once everyone had completed their final pitstops, Jenson was up to fifth, which is where he finished the race, 7.2s behind Webber.
|1||K RAIKKONEN (McLaren)|
|2||G FISICHELLA (Renault)|
|3||F ALONSO (Renault)|
|4||M WEBBER (Williams)|
|5||J BUTTON (B·A·R Honda)|
|6||D COULTHARD (RedBull)|
|7||M SCHUMACHER (Ferrari)|
|8||R SCHUMACHER (Toyota)|
|9||C KLIEN (RedBull)|
|10||F MASSA (Sauber)|
|11||R BARRICHELLO (Ferrari)|
|12||J VILLENEUVE (Sauber)|
|13||T MONTEIRO (Jordan)|
|14||R DOORNBOS (Minardi)|
|15||N KARTHIKEYAN (Jordan)|
|16||C ALBERS (Minardi)|
|DSQ||T SATO (B·A·R Honda)|