A tough evening for Brawn GP at the Marina Bay Street Circuit saw Rubens Barrichello qualify in fifth position for tomorrow's Singapore Grand Prix with team-mate Jenson Button qualifying in twelfth position.
Jenson and Rubens progressed comfortably through Q1 in second and sixth positions respectively before both drivers struggled with the balance of the car on new tyres in Q2. Rubens was able to progress to Q3 with a quick lap at the end of the session however Jenson had not been happy with the balance of his car all day and problems with understeer left him out of the top ten.
In Q3, Rubens was lying in fifth position on his final flying lap when he ran wide on the dust at turn five and hit the wall bringing qualifying to an early conclusion. Rubens will start in tenth position on the grid due to a five-place gearbox change penalty.
Rubens Barrichello: "It was an eventful qualifying session for me today but I'm still feeling positive with starting from tenth position on the grid. Considering everything that happened, I feel that it's a pretty good result. I had a problem with the car after Q2 when I hit the kerb too hard and probably damaged the floor as the car wasn't feeling quite right at the end of the session. It was a great lap to get into Q3 as we were struggling for pace and I knew that I had to push regardless of any damage. I was really going for it on my final run in Q3 and unfortunately the car bottomed out and I lost control and ended up bouncing off the wall. It's a shame but the car should be ok and we can look forward to the race tomorrow."
Jenson Button: "It was a frustrating qualifying session for us today. The car felt pretty good in Q1 and I was the second quickest which was positive. We had a bit of understeer so we made some changes for Q2 but unfortunately it made the car very difficult under braking and I locked the front left tyre up into turn seven which lost me a lot of time. Then with a flat-spotted front tyre, it's impossible to make the time up around here so that was my qualifying over. We'll make the best of it tomorrow of course but starting from twelfth on the grid is going to make it a tough race."
Ross Brawn: "It was a difficult qualifying session for the team in Singapore this evening. Prior to qualifying, we took the decision to change the gearbox in Rubens' car as this is a heavy duty cycle track for gearboxes and further dyno simulations had shown that keeping the box was too risky. Both drivers progressed comfortably through Q1 then we struggled in Q2 and were not able to get the cars balanced. Rubens put in a good lap at the end to progress with Jenson suffering from understeer throughout the day. We made some significant changes to his car prior to qualifying but were not able to get into the top ten. We expected to be more competitive in Q3 but with Rubens' accident, it's clearly not been a great day. We have to tough it out and see what we can recover tomorrow."