|Honda Racing F1 Team
Jenson Button has won the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix, taking both his and the Honda Racing F1 Team’s first Formula One victory. In changing track conditions, the 26-year-old Englishman drove a stunning race, charging through the field from 14th place on the grid.
Capping a fabulous race for the team – which was seen by the CEO and President of the Honda Motor Company, Takeo Fukui – Rubens Barrichello came home in a fighting fourth place.
The 70-lap race got under way in wet conditions, with Rubens making a great start to be second into Turn 1. Jenson, meanwhile, jumped from 14th to 11th on the opening lap and went on to overtake one car per lap for the next six laps to be fourth by lap eight.
Rubens’ strategy was compromised on lap five when he pitted for full wet tyres, having started the race on intermediates. He rejoined the race in 10th position.
Jenson was up to third position by the time of his first pitstop on lap 17, from which he rejoined in fourth place behind Pedro de la Rosa. Behind him, Rubens was charging through the field and by the time the Safety Car came out on lap 26, following an accident involving Kimi Raikkonen, he was in fifth place.
Rubens made his second pitstop during this Safety Car period, but Jenson stayed out, which left him in second place on the road. The race then re- started on lap 31 and Jenson set a string of fastest laps to close onto the tail of race leader Fernando Alonso.
Jenson pitted on lap 46 and emerged in second place. When Alonso crashed at Turn 2 on lap 51, Jenson was handed a convincing lead over second placed Pedro de la Rosa, which he was never to lose, even when he made his final pitstop on lap 54 for dry tyres.
In the closing stages, Rubens closed onto the gearbox of third-placed Nick Heidfeld, but he was unable to find a way passed.
The Honda Racing F1 Team now has a three-week break prior to the next round of the World Championship in Turkey, on August 27th.
“Wow! What a day! This is such an amazing moment for me and one that I have worked my whole motor racing career for. I always had faith that we would achieve our objective together and this victory is testimony to that belief. There are so many people to thank right now - everybody in the team, Honda Motor Company, our partners and, of course, all the fans. I would also like to pay a very special tribute to my family who helped me start out on the path to victory. To win such a tough and challenging race from 14th place on the grid is incredible for me and all the more important because I know I won on merit today. No one can dispute that today the Honda Racing F1 Team got everything right.”
“I am truly happy for Jenson and the Honda Racing F1 Team today. It was a shame for me that we had the wrong tyres at the start or we could have both been on the podium. A huge effort from the team this weekend and we hope to carry that forward for future wins..”
TAKEO FUKUI – President and CEO of Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
“We are absolutely delighted with this victory today. We have been aiming for victory from the first race of this year, and to have finally reached our goal at the 13th race of the season makes us extremely happy. The drivers and all the members of the team have worked very hard and done a truly outstanding job. Today we share with all our fans the thrill of victory. Tomorrow we will once again be hard at work to achieve yet more Formula One World Championship wins. I would like to express my gratitude to all our fans for their continuing support. Thank you.”
NICK FRY – Chief Executive Officer
“There are hardly words to describe this moment. It is an historic day for Honda and the
most incredible occasion for the whole team, its associates and fans all over the world.
Everyone has worked so hard for so long to savour the taste of victory. Jenson has
remained positive, as has the whole team, and I am immensely proud of everyone
today, especially as the CEO of Honda Motor Company, Takeo Fukui, was here in
Hungary to receive the trophy on our behalf. Now that we have reached this important
milestone, we know we have what it takes to go on and do it again and again.”
GIL DE FERRAN – Sporting Director
“This will always be an unforgettable day for the whole Honda team! This fantastic result
is the culmination of several years of hard work, dedication and relentless pursuit of
perfection by the many members of our team, and on this day everything came right.
For Jenson, winning a race was just a matter of time and on a day like today where
conditions were incredibly difficult gave him the perfect setting to show the world a talent
and class that all of us in the team knew he had all along. Jenson drove the perfect race
from start to finish; he was fast and flawless through out. Needless to say this race was
very hard to manage from a strategic standpoint, right from the start when we struggled
with what tyres to start the race on. With Rubens we decided to start on extreme wets
and Jenson with wets which paid off early on for Rubens, but we had to pit him only after
a few laps. The key part of the race came after Jenson caught up to the leader and we
decided to split the last stint since we doubted the wets were going to be the right tyre
for the conditions at the end but they certainly were when he came in for the second
time on lap 46. In the end first and fourth is just reward for the whole team, not to
mention Jenson and Rubens who have kept faith and focused through all the hard work.
Turkey can’t come soon enough!”
SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM
SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM had another difficult day as the weather made for treacherous racing conditions. Unfortunately Sakon Yamamoto was unable to finish his second race for the team, however Takuma Sato drove a solid race to bring his SA06 home. Takuma endured many problems throughout the race and struggled with the car from the start. However, through sheer determination and exceptional team work, he was able to cross the finish line in 14th position.
“ I am happy that we finished a very hard race, not only because of the weather conditions today, but also because of the gearbox problem I had. During the first stage we were looking good and I was actually pulling away from the Midlands, which was very encouraging. But after the pitstop I had a clutch problem and almost lost all drive - at one stage I thought that I would not be able to finish the race. Fortunately I was able to solve the problem by changing the setting from the cockpit, but I later had a gearbox problem and lost a gear which meant that it became incredibly tough to drive the car towards the end. I am pleased that we were able to bring the car home and finish the race as it is very important for the team to have this data before the summer break.”
“ The weekend started quite well and I was looking forward to starting the race from the grid. I made a reasonable start off the line and tried to overtake a few cars in front of me at turn one, but the engine stalled and my race was over. It is a very disappointing end to the weekend again for me, but I think that we made good progress with the SA06 here in Hungary. On the positive side, I think that Honda’s win is fantastic and I would like to send my congratulations to them as part of our family.”
Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal
“ It was a difficult race in difficult weather conditions. Sakon made a good start and tried an overtaking maneuver at the first corner, but he was too late in braking and unfortunately stalled the car. Taku drove a very good race, especially during the opening laps on the wet tyres. He later suffered a clutch problem and the car became very difficult to drive, however this was then followed by a problem in his gearbox but he managed to keep pushing to finish the race. The team did an extremely good job today, the pitstops were quick and the problems we had remedied, so over all I am happy about that.”