Button scores, Villeneuve fails

Jenson Button raced to seventh place, a lap down, in the European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring to move into equal ninth place in the drivers' championship, at the same time advancing BAR and Honda to fifth place in the constructors' challenge

Button scores, Villeneuve fails

BAR team-mate Jacques Villeneuve was not so fortunate, being left on the grid at the start by a poor getaway, thus getting stuck behind the Minardis, then passing them, then spinning off and having to do it all again. Having done so, he then hit the new bollards at the chicane and had to pit for a new nose section on the same lap as Button made his first scheduled stop.

However, all this mattered little in the end, as he retired from 10th place inside the final 10 laps of the race, with gearbox failure.

"I'm very happy to finish where I did," said Button, "as we weren't really on the pace at all. The start was poor and there must have been a 30 metre gap between me and the guys in front but I caught up at the first corner and managed to get past Mark Webber. But I was struggling with oversteer and had to take it easy on the first couple of stints to conserve the tyres.

"It has been a tough old weekend so I'm pleased we were able to get a couple of points as the boys deserve a bit of a boost. Their work in the pits today was incredible as Jacques and I came in on the same lap."

Villeneuve just couldn't wait to get the meeting over with: "I'm pleased to see the end of a very bad weekend," said the Canadian. "Once we got going, the pace wasn't too bad, but it was hard to be stuck behind the Minardis. I made a couple of mistakes as well and I was lucky to recover from my spin at the chicane. Then, just as it looked as though I was at least going to be able to finish the race, second gear broke and it was all over."

Technical Director Geoffrey Willis is also looking ahead to the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours next Sunday: "This has been a difficult weekend for the team, so it's very good to finish with two more points.

"Jenson drove a solid race, particularly resisting the pressure of those behind him during the middle stint of the race. A great deal of credit must go to the pit crew as they did an excellent job to change Jacques' nose in record time and get him out before Jenson came in for a scheduled stop just 10 seconds later."

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