Today's Canadian Grand Prix saw a valiant fight by Lucky Strike B·A·R Honda to bring a promising weekend to a positive conclusion. Although Jenson Button and Takuma Sato left the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve empty-handed after a premature conclusion to their race, the whole team leaves Montreal this evening with good reason for optimism.
It was a tough race of attrition for all of the teams with the field depleted by nine drivers at the end of the 70-lap Grand Prix. Both Jenson and Takuma experienced poor starts, which lost them two places each off the grid. Nonetheless, Jenson always had a podium within his sights until he fell victim to the legendary 'Wall of Champions' at the final turn with just 23 laps remaining.
Takuma was tapped at the rear of the car by Jacques Villeneuve in the first corner and sustained some damage to the diffuser and rear wing as a consequence. But his problems really began 22 laps into the race when he experienced a lack of gearbox oil pressure. The team brought him into the pits and worked furiously for 24 laps to replace Takuma's racecar rear end with that of the T-car in only 27 minutes, allowing him to resume the race and make the most of the opportunity to seize an improved qualifying slot in Indianapolis. He rejoined the action with 24 laps remaining but his return to the race was shortlived when the rear of his B·A·R Honda 007 locked up at the hairpin.
Jenson Button: "It has been a disappointing end to what has been a very encouraging weekend. I got onto the marbles in the hairpin, went a bit wide because the rear locked up and got the tyres dirty. When I got to the chicane, I had big understeer and hit the wall off the second kerb. It was completely my mistake and very frustrating because we were looking good. My start wasn't great and the Renaults got better traction off the line which allowed them to leapfrog me. After that the car was running reasonably well. We were not on the same pace as the leaders but it was looking good for a podium finish. To end the day with no points is frustrating but we have to look at the positives from the weekend. We have made real progress and now have to work hard to make the most of that in Indy."
Tsakuma Sato: "It was an extremely disappointing result for all of us today, especially as we had looked good all weekend. It was a particularly eventful afternoon for me. I had a problem at the start when the car didn't pull away well and I struggled into turns one and two. Then one of the Saubers hit me from behind and I lost my diffuser and part of the rear wing which made the car difficult to drive. Halfway through the race, we had a problem with the gearbox and had to change the whole back end of the car. This is a bit unusual but we wanted to collect some data and there was also a chance to gain position. The car was not working well though and the hydraulic pressure was too low. In the end, the rear brakes locked up and I lost the car completely. The mechanics did a fantastic job to get me back in the race today and it was a pity that we were unable to finish. We can take some positives from this weekend however so we look forward now and hope to do better in Indianapolis."
Gil de Ferran: "We are obviously disappointed not to have finished the race, however that's racing and the overwhelming feeling as we leave Canada and head to the US is a very positive one. Overall, our performance was much improved from the last race and we were challenging at the front end of the field throughout the weekend. Hopefully that's where we'll be in Indianapolis."
Shuhei Nakamoto: "A disappointing day. On the positive side, the latest spec engine ran well, and our pace throughout the weekend has been much better. All we can do now is look forward and aim to convert the speed into points next weekend in Indy."