Button delighted with qualifying speed

BAR-Honda star Jenson Button believes that he can translate his pace in first qualifying today (Thursday) into an even better performance in Saturday's final session that will determine the grid for Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix

Button delighted with qualifying speed

Button was third fastest today, hanging on to the coat tails of the Ferrari pacesetters Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello.

"I'm really quite happy with third," said Button. "This morning the circuit was very slippery because of the new tarmac, especially on the new entrance to Rascasse. I got used to it pretty quickly though, and I like it a lot more than previously. In qualifying the first corner was a little bit oversteery because I was trying to keep the tyres cool. I also had a little bit of graining in the last corner so I lost a couple of tenths there. I went over the kerb really heavily in the second part of the swimming pool but it doesn't look like I suffered too much as a result, but the place where I lost quite a bit of time is in Rascasse where I had quite a lot of understeer.

"Third is a good basis for Saturday and at least we know we are competitive now. We can look at our strategy and know that we have more possibilities. It's good to see the car improving steadily with each new race. That's what you need to become a top team."

Team principal David Richards was pleased with Button's time, but bemoaned the amount of cement dust used by marshals after Heinz-Harald Frentzen's Sauber expired just before Jacques Villeneuve was due on track, which restricted the former world champion to 12th.

"A superb performance from Jenson on a circuit that is so unforgiving and where pinpoint accuracy is absolutely essential," said Richards. "I'm encouraged that our combination of chassis and Honda engine is looking so competitive at a circuit that is so radically different from Austria, which suggests that we are now beginning to adapt to both extremes. It was unfortunate for Jacques that the marshals appeared somewhat over-zealous with the cement dust after Frentzen's engine failure, but I'm sure things will improve for him as the weekend progresses."

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