Jenson Button will start tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix from 10th position after putting in a scintillating performance behind the wheel of his RA107 during today's qualifying session. It was the fourth time this year that he has qualified inside the top 10 and the second time in as many weeks following his sixth position on the grid at Fuji last weekend.
It was one of the most closely-fought qualifying sessions of the year and in Q1 Rubens Barrichello set a time that was only 0.2s slower than Jenson, but it equated to a seven-place drop on the grid. He will start the race from 17th position.
The weather conditions at the Shanghai International Circuit were hotter today than at any other time during the weekend. The 45-degree track temperature helped Jenson and Rubens to heat up their Bridgestone Potenza tyres, which in turn helped them to improve the one-lap performance of their cars from yesterday's practice sessions.
In Q1 they completed two flying laps each, with Rubens' first run being slightly faster than Jenson's. They improved their lap times on their second runs, when Rubens just missed out on Q2 by two hundredths of a second.
In Q2 Jenson completed two flying laps. After his first run, he lay just outside the top 10, but a determined effort on his second lap saw him grab 10th position and a place in Q3. The focus there was to maximise Jenson's chances in tomorrow's 56-lap race and he qualified 10th with a time of 1:39.285s.
Saturday Practice: P13 1:37.564
Qualifying 1: P13 1:37.092
Qualifying 2: P10 1:36.771
Qualifying 3: P10 1:39.285
“I am happy, and to be honest a little surprised, to be in the top ten again this weekend. It was unexpected but we were able to get the best out of the car today and have over-achieved in terms of where this car should be qualifying, which is a nice feeling. The forecast for tomorrow seems to be for another wet race so we will give it our best shot from here as points are a real possibility.”
Saturday Practice: P18 1:37.920
Qualifying 1: P17 01:37.251
Qualifying 2: -
Qualifying 3: -
“I got a good lap in Q1 today but unfortunately we just missed out on making it through to the second session. There was really very little difference between the times so it is frustrating to just miss out. It will be interesting to see what the weather brings for tomorrow and we will just have to see what can be done from here.”
JACKY EECKELAERT, Engineering Director
“In practice this morning we evaluated a number of set-up changes to prepare for this afternoon's qualifying. The track conditions were fairly similar to yesterday although there was a stronger wind. In qualifying, we were surprised by how close all of the cars were in terms of lap time. Unfortunately Rubens just missed out on the second session by 0.02s after a very good effort which saw him sandwiched between the two Renaults. Jenson did an excellent job to get the car through to the final session to finish in 10th and we are all very pleased at how much he was able to get out of the car.”