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The Honda Racing F1 Team enjoyed a positive result in its home grand prix today after Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button converted 14th and 18th place grid slots into two top ten finishes. They finished just outside the points in 9th and 10th respectively and were the most improved drivers of the 59 lap race, making up five and eight places respectively.
As the only team to adopt a one-stop strategy, both cars were running heavy at the start. Losing places in the opening laps was likely, although Jenson actually gained a place overtaking Anthony Davidson on the first lap. Despite their fuel load they maintained good pace to elevate them to stronger positions as the rest of the field embarked on the first of their two-stop strategies.
By the time Rubens stopped on lap 31, he had climbed up to ninth position. He was stationary for just 8.3s and rejoined the race in 10th place, just ahead of Nico Rosberg. Jenson stopped two laps later and re-joined in 13th place, behind Alex Wurz. He fought off the attentions of Coulthard in the latter stages of the race, driving faultlessly to finish 0.6s ahead and just 6.4s behind Rubens.
Rubens Barrichello: I felt like I had one of my best Silverstone races today but unfortunately it was not enough for a points finish. We had a good race and our one-stop strategy worked well for both myself and Jenson, so it was a shame for the team that we could not get a point. The car was quite heavy with all the fuel, which caused it to bottom out a little bit, but otherwise the balance felt good. We are just not quite there yet with our overall pace and will be working hard at the Spa test next week to improve. Jenson Button: I'm reasonably happy with our performance today and it was good to make up some places during the race to finish 10th from 18th on the grid. The one-stop strategy paid off for us but I didn't get the best out of the car this weekend as I struggled with rear grip and had a lot of understeer, which is something that we need to look at. Rubens was able to get the maximum from the car but we were just a little bit off. The problem with my back on Friday hampered the preparation a little bit, leaving just Saturday morning to work on the set-up. I'm looking forward to the Spa test now and hoping that we can continue to push and make small steps to improve our overall performance. Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: As was the case last week in Magny-Cours, our race pace was better than our qualifying position. Both drivers lost some positions at the start, but they drove an excellent race and we maximised the performance of the car with a good strategy and excellent pit-stop work. The eight cars who finished ahead of us were the current top four teams in the championship. Our attention now turns to taking another step forward and this will be our objective for the test in Spa next week.
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