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GP Week : Issue 14
Honda’s two drivers couldn’t really have had far more contrasting weekends if they’d tried. Rubens Barrichello seemed to enjoy the low donwforce configuration of his RA108 and improved from 18th in the morning to a promising 13th in the afternoon. Jenson Button, plum last in the morning, at least improved to 19th in the afternoon and complained of an ill-balanced car with no grip. His woes carried on to qualifying where he finished only ahead of Vettel’s demolished car that had not set a time. The problem was a loss of third gear and a lack of drive. A gearbox change saw him start from the pits. Barrichello, meanwhile, took his best grid position of the year with a Q3 performance that netted him ninth position and a big smile. Button fought all the way up to seventh place from the back of the grid, but his final pits-top dropped him to 11th, where he finished. Barrichello drove like a trooper in a clearly difficult car to finish seventh and bring home two more valuable points for the team. Returning to the scene of his first F1 pole and victory, Lewis Hamilton was in confident mood from the word go. Sixth in the morning, he took the overall fastest time of the day in second practice on a track which he adores. Heikki Kovalainen was third in the morning and fourth in the afternoon to wrap up a consistent and useful day for the Finn. Saturday was a tour de force for Hamilton as he obliterated his opposition with a sensational pole lap in which he found over half a second in additional pace. Stunning. Kovalainen, meanwhile, couldn’t find a clean lap and was annoyed with seventh given the pace he knew he had. The race was nothing short of awful for the team. Hamilton’s faux pas in the pits means he goes to France with a DNF and a 10 place penalty in his pocket, while Kovalainen struggled with graining on his tyres and finished ninth. For a team so used to success, Canada was a kick in the teeth for McLaren and the team will hope to rebuild in France in two weeks’ time. Force India spent the wet Friday morning practice bedding in new brake material, and the afternoon evaluating tyre compounds, with both complaining of graining. Still, it was a promising day of running from them both. Sutil, fresh from his headline-winning Monaco race took 16th and 18th, while Fisichella levelled out with a consistent 15th and 14th. The change in track conditions on Saturday threw the team a little off kilt, with both drivers complaining of a lack of grip. Neither made it out of Q1, although Sutil managed to get ahead of Fisichella for the second race in a row. The duo lined up with Sutil in 17th and Fisichella 18th, with the Italian saying that he had lost all confidence in a circuit he said was “undriveable.” In the end neither driver would finish the race. Sutil was sidelined with a gearbox problem, and his stricken car brought out the all important safety car. Fisichella survived 51 laps of the race despite a lack of grip but would finish facing backwards after spinning out. HONDA RACING F1 TEAM 16 17 FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM 20 21 VODAFONE McLAREN MERCEDES 22 23 F1 canada >> 37