At the conclusion of an eventful Japanese Grand Prix, the Honda Racing F1 Team's Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button finished in 13th and 14th positions respectively.
Having both adopted one-stop strategies, the Honda drivers made excellent starts from the penultimate row of the grid, which enabled them to benefit from the mêlée at the front going through Turn 1. By the end of the opening lap Jenson had climbed seven places to be in 11th position, with Rubens in 14th place.
Jenson began the race on the Bridgestone option tyre and suffered from graining in the early part of the first stint. Rubens took the prime tyre for the opening stint and was able to make better progress.
Jenson pitted on lap 37. He switched to the prime tyre and rejoined the race in 14th place. Rubens followed him into the pits a lap later and emerged from his stop just ahead of his team-mate having taken on the option tyre. They remained in these positions until the end of the 67 lap race.
A good start to the race but ultimately it was a disappointing afternoon?
Rubens Barrichello: "I had a great start to the race today, passing three or four cars on the way down to the first corner and was able to hold the position well. Unfortunately I was then hit from behind by Fisichella which damaged the rear end of the car and affected the balance for the remainder of the race. From then on, we were really limited by the poor performance and pace of the car this weekend. We did all that we could but were not able to make any headway up the field."
What issues did you encounter in the race this afternoon?
Jenson Button: "The race began really well for me and I was running inside the top ten at the first corner after making a great start. Unfortunately going with the option for my first stint didn't work well and I really suffered from this in the early laps. I was passed by a few cars around the first lap and from then on had graining on the front and rear tyres which meant I was slow through the corners and we couldn't compete on straightline speed, particularly with a heavy fuel load. Once we put the prime tyre on for the second stint, the balance was much better, but by then it was impossible to catch up and make progress."
Sum up Honda's race for us today?
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "Given that our car is not well-suited to this track, and our current package, this was always going to be a difficult race for us, especially from our grid positions. We took a gamble starting Jenson on the option tyre, looking for a good start and end of first stint performance. Jenson did indeed get a good start off the line, making up seven places, but then the tyres quickly grained and he lost all of that advantage. This was the risk associated with this strategy. Rubens also had a good start but appeared to be experiencing problems with the car balance after he was struck from behind by the Force India car of Fisichella. As our focus has already switched to 2009 I'm afraid we anticipated a tough time until the end of the season, but we will reap the benefit of this decision later next year."