Heavy rain at Monza yesterday afternoon produced a thrilling spectacle for the fans but an ultimately disappointing qualifying session for the Honda Racing F1 Team.
Rubens Barrichello will start today's Italian Grand Prix from 16th position on the grid and Jenson Button from 19th place. As the drivers took to the track for the start of the session the rain was quite heavy and their lap times were in the 1:50s.
The conditions started to ease in the closing stages of Q1 and by the end of the session Rubens' fastest lap was a 1:36.510s and Jenson's a 1:37.006s. However, the RA108s proved difficult to drive throughout the session and the team will now analyse the data prior to finalising the strategies for both cars ahead of the 53-lap race.
Q. You just missed out on a place in Q2 today, what happened?
A."I'm very disappointed as we had the opportunity to have a good qualifying session today. Unfortunately there was a mis-communication on the radio as I wanted to stay on the existing tyres with more front wing when Icame in. However the team changed to a new set of tyres as they were concerned about the temperatures and took off some wing, and this set did not work as well for me. It's a shame as I think we could have progressed into Q2 and had a much better qualifying session."
Q. As a driver who is very comfortable in wet conditions, today's qualifying result must be disappointing for you?
A. "We were expecting these conditions to help us, so I am surprised that wehave ended up so far back in qualifying today. The biggest problem seems to be that we can't get the car and tyres to work in the wet conditions withvery low downforce. The first set of tyres that we ran seemed to be working okay and I was running just outside the top ten, however on the new set thatwe used for my last three quick laps the car was just undriveable. It had no balance and I couldn't find any grip, so every time I hit the brakes, thefront and rear wheels would lock. We'll have to have a look at the data and find out why the car was so difficult to drive, but it's obviously very disappointing to be starting the race from so far back on the grid."
ROSS BRAWN Team Principal
Q. Can you sum up the challenge faced by the team in trying to prepare for and qualify in those conditions today?
A. "Our approach was actually quite good. We did most of the right things but what came as a surprise to us was that on the second set of tyres we didn't seem to have the same level of grip as the first set and that caught us out. Usually, one would expect a new set to add performance but it was quite the opposite today and that's really what hurt us because prior to thestops we were in a position to qualify into Q2."
Q. What does the race hold for Honda given the expected conditions for tomorrow?
A. "Things didn't work out for us in qualifying today but we are certainly hoping for inclement weather tomorrow. Our car is not too bad in the wet and so if we get on top of the problems we experienced today we should still be able to take advantage, despite our positions on the grid."