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Formula One World Championship 2006
Round 16: Chinese GP
- September 30, 2006
Honda Racing F1 Team
Two very strong performances in tricky conditions saw the Honda Racing F1 Team’s Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button achieve the team’s best combined qualifying result of the year. They ended the session third and fourth - with exactly the same lap time and will line up side by side on the second row of the grid for the start of tomorrow’s 56-lap race.
Conditions were changeable during this morning’s final free practice, so all of the drivers reserved their running for late in the session when the track was improving. Jenson was third fastest whilst Rubens struggled to get heat into the tyres and spun, but fortunately he collected the car and finished 16th overall.
This afternoon, the qualifying hour was officially declared wet and the session gave rise to several casualties as the drivers battled hard against standing water and poor visibility in order to secure competitive times. Despite another hair-raising spin for Rubens along the way, both drivers gained the measure of the track and were running as high as P1 and P2 midway through the session. Jenson was forced to pit for a new nosecone after hitting a wing mirror which had fallen from Raikkonen’s car and onto the racing line. However, once he rejoined the track he was immediately back on the pace demonstrating the competitiveness of the RA106 in the wet. The forecast for tomorrow is for changeable conditions.
- Rubens Barrichello
- Jenson Button
- RUBENS BARRICHELLO
- Free Practice 3 Position: 14th
Session 1 12nd
Session 2 6th
Session 3 - Grid Position: 3rd Lap Time: 1:45.503
"I’m thrilled to be back in the top three qualifiers again, especially after such a difficult session. This is a great result for the team with Jenson and I in third and fourth and setting exactly the same lap time. It was pretty treacherous out there and at times it was just impossible to push. When I did I spun off and thankfully the gravel slowed me just enough for me to land on the grass. I was able to keep the engine running so I could keep going. Aside from that moment we’re looking pretty competitive in the wet and in the past the race has come my way many times in similar conditions. If that’s the way the weather plays out I’ll be happy but we have a car that works well either way."
- JENSON BUTTON
- Free Practice 3 Position: 3rd
Session 1 6th
Session 2 3rd
Session 3 - Grid Position: 4th Lap Time: 1:45.503
"I’m very happy with today’s result, especially with Rubens and I posting exactly the same time. It’s been a very interesting day in which the Michelins are clearly very strong in the tricky conditions. It’s pretty slippery out there which made it tough going, but we’re looking good I think and I have a good strategy so we should be able to look forward to a great race, especially for the fan."
- GIL DE FERRAN, Sporting Director
- "I guess we can say that we are in a good position going into the race tomorrow! The weather conditions in qualifying made it very difficult to predict when the track was going to be at its best, therefore for both Q1 and Q2 we elected to run for most of the session. In the end, Jenson and Rubens got into the top ten quite comfortably. On the final shootout both drivers did a great job again to qualify on the second row with exactly the same time, the best qualifying performance of our team so far this year. It is also worth noting that Michelin produced a great wet tyre for Shanghai, which was clearly the class of the field this afternoon. We were competitive yesterday and again today, which bodes well for the race tomorrow. The weather is expected to be as uncertain for Sunday as it was today which always makes the race more unpredictable and therefore more exciting!"
SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM
The weather played an integral role in today’s running at the Shanghai International Circuit. SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM drivers Takuma Sato and Sakon Yamamoto experienced difficult track conditions as the low cloud and high humidity added to an already heavy atmosphere following overnight rain. All teams made the change from intermediate to dry tyres half way through the morning’s Free Practice session as the track started to dry out. Takuma set the 16th fastest time of the morning, a 1:43.722, just three seconds off the timesheet leader. The weather did not lift for Qualifying in the afternoon as the rain came down making for hazardous driving conditions.
- Takuma Sato
- Sakon Yamamoto
- TAKUMA SATO
- FP3 Position 16 Fastest Lap Time 1:43.722
Qualifying Grid Position 21 Fastest Lap Time 1:50.326
"It was a difficult day for everyone in tricky conditions. During this morning’s practice session I tested wet and dry tyres, but we were not comfortable with the evaluation of the wet’s. It was important that we completed the test though as in the end we had to qualify in the rain. At the end of session we also tested the dry tyre options and completed a few timed laps, which was good because I missed most of the running yesterday. Qualifying was like a lottery, with changing weather and track conditions which made it difficult to pick the right running time, and also a red flag situation. I am taking an engine change penalty on the grid anyway, but, wet or dry, I believe that we are ready for the race tomorrow."
- SAKON YAMAMOTO
- FP3 Position 20 Fastest Lap Time 1:46.850
Qualifying Grid Position 22 Fastest Lap Time 1:55.560
"I'm really disappointed with my Qualifying result because I had confidence going into the rainy session from FP3 this morning. During Qualifying we changed our strategy and ran a new tyre evaluation. But on my fastest lap there was a red flag, so I had to come back to the garage. When I went out again there were only three minutes left and with so much water on the track there was no chance to improve on my time. Obviously the lap times are down due to the weather conditions, but my lap time today was not the best that I could have set. Whether the conditions are wet or dry tomorrow, I will just try to do my best."
- AGURI SUZUKI, Team Principal
- "This afternoon’s Qualifying was driven in very difficult conditions for everybody. It was hard for us to decide on the correct tyre choice for the session and then, just before the drivers went out for their attacking laps, we had a red flag situation. This was extremely bad timing for us and we did not qualify well, but hopefully we shall have dry conditions for the race tomorrow."
Formula One World Championship
Round 16: Chinese GP
||F ALONSO (Renault)
||G FISICHELLA (Renault)
||R BARRICHELLO (Honda Racing F1 Team)
||J BUTTON (Honda Racing F1 Team)
||K RAIKKONEN (McLaren-Mercedes)
||M SCHUMACHER (Ferrari)
||P DE LA ROSA (McLaren-Mercedes)
||N HEIDFELD (Sauber-BMW)
||R KUBICA (Sauber-BMW)
||R DOORNBOS (RBR-Ferrari)
||S SPEED (STR-Cosworth)
||D COULTHARD (RBR-Ferrari)
||F MASSA (Ferrari)
||V LIUZZI (STR-Cosworth)
||M WEBBER (Williams-Cosworth)
||N ROSBERG (Williams-Cosworth)
||R SCHUMACHER (Toyota)
||J TRULLI (Toyota)
||C ALBERS (MF1-Toyota)
||T MONTEIRO (MF1-Toyota)
||T SATO (SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM)
||S YAMAMOTO (SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM)