BAR Pair Confident of Strong Race

BAR duo Jenson Button and Takuma Sato believe that they will still be able to mix-it right at the front of the field in tomorrow's San Marino Grand Prix despite falling short of high expectations in first qualifying

Button in particular had been one of the strongest drivers in free practice but he could only manage fifth in first qualifying, after suffering slightly because of his fairly early position in the running order. Sato ended qualifying 10th.

Despite not having lived up to their early promise, though, both men remain confident that they will put in a strong performance in tomorrow's final qualifying and the race.

"I am reasonably happy considering the position we started in for qualifying," said Button. "My lap was going really well until the last sector, when I had too much understeer.

"At least it has shown that we are have made some big improvements and are on the pace. It would have nice to be on pole here, but if we are in the top five tomorrow I will be very happy because I think the car is strong enough for us to make the best of every opportunity in tomorrow's race."

Sato added: "We had good pace in free practice this morning. We knew we were going to be affected by running early in the session with the track conditions certain to improve for the drivers running later.

"Although I struggled with grip a little, I am reasonably pleased with my lap and everybody's lap time in the top ten is so close together.  Because of this, I feel that tomorrow morning I have a good chance of improving my position on the grid for the race.

"The two weeks' testing in Barcelona and Paul Ricard is paying off though and we are confident that we will be able to get our season started here in Imola."

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