The Honda Racing F1 Team will start tomorrow's Monaco Grand Prix from the fifth row of the grid after a strong qualifying performance on the twisty Monte Carlo circuit today. Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button both made it through to the final session and will start in ninth and 10th positions respectively following the team's best qualifying showing of the year.
Following intermittent showers during morning practice, this afternoon's qualifying hour remained dry and the two Honda drivers easily made it through the first knock-out session, posting the eighth and ninth fastest times. At the end of Q2, Rubens was the 10th fastest driver, with Jenson squeezed out by just 0.003 secs. A penalty for David Coulthard stripped him of his Q2 times which promoted Jenson to Q3. This led to an action-packed final session that saw the Honda drivers swapping positions right up to the end.
Rubens Barrichello: I would like to say a big thank you to the whole team today. We did a fantastic job to make it through to the final session. Little by little we are improving and although we still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do, we are encouraged. I know we will get back to where we belong. I'm very excited for tomorrow. This is always a great race but starting P9 really gives us a shot at the points.
Jenson Button: It's great that we made it through to the third session today. Definitely a step in the right direction. My radio wasn't working properly and it was crackling the whole time so in the end I had to unplug it completely, which was far from ideal because we had to be 'on it' the whole time during today's qualifying. Monaco places a premium on qualifying position so what we have achieved today is great. The team did a good job and we can do well tomorrow so I'm really looking forward to it.
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director: Our best qualifying session of the year and we are very pleased to see both drivers in the top ten, particularly here in Monaco where a good grid position can have such an impact on the race. Both drivers got all of the performance possible out of the car today with some excellent driving and also credit is due to the team for the job they did of running the cars. This morning, the free practice session was affected by some rain just before and during the session but thankfully qualifying remained dry and we can now look forward to a stronger race tomorrow.
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