The Honda Racing F1 Team will start the 2006 season finale from the third and seventh rows of the grid after Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button qualified fifth and 14th for tomorrow’s Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo.
Both drivers made it through the first knock-out round, despite an electronic problem for Jenson at the end of Q1, which seriously affected the traction control.
From there, with a well-balanced car beneath him, local hero Rubens sailed through to the final ten-car shoot-out. Having set the tone for a positive day with a strong showing in free practice this morning, he maintained the momentum to deliver a polished performance and a lap that was good for P5. He will line up on the clean side of the track in the thick of the action for the start of the 71-lap race, in front of his legions of Brazilian fans.
On the opposite side of the garage, the team tried to fix the electronic problem with Jenson’s car but it persisted when he returned to the track for Q2. He was unable to achieve a good lap, which brought his session to an early and disappointing conclusion.
Free Practice 3 Position: 6th
Session 1 9th
Session 2 8th
Session 3 - Grid Position:
Lap Time: 1:11.619
"I’m very happy - it’s been a good day. The team has done a great job to get the car back to where it belongs after the issues that we had during practice yesterday. I was able to extract everything out of the car today and my last lap was really good, so I have to be happy with that. I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow as we have a good strategy, plus we have two Brazilians in the top five which is very good for our home race."
Free Practice 3 Position: 3rd
Session 1 13rd
Session 2 - Grid Position:
Lap Time: 1:11.742
"We had a good car today so it’s very disappointing to have the electronic problem and be starting the final race of the year from 14th on the grid. The issue affected the traction control massively and the car was undriveable at the end of Q1. The team tried to address the problem but there was only time for a quick fix and it didn’t solve it. I obviously wanted to end the season on a high and we had a good opportunity to do that but now we’ll have a bit of a battle on our hands to fight our way through the field."
de Ferran, Sporting Director
"We are happy on the one hand and disappointed on the other. Rubens had a smooth qualifying session and pulled out all the stops in front of his home crowd, extracting all the speed we had in the car today. Jenson had an electronic issue that was costing him a lot of time and as a result he was unable to make it through to the final shoot-out. Assuming that we are able to fix the problem, the full extent of which has yet to be determined, we should have a strong race tomorrow given that both drivers are very happy with the car handling and have been competitive throughout the weekend so far. It should be an exciting race!"