Interview: Villeneuve Makes No Excuses

Canadian Jacques Villeneuve compared himself to a carefree driver soaking up the sunshine after a slow qualifying run at the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday

Interview: Villeneuve Makes No Excuses

"I just drove slowly, didn't take enough risks. I was on a Sunday drive, you know, with the sunshine and taking it easy, I guess," said the 1997 Formula One World Champion.

The Sauber driver, classified fourth at the last San Marino Grand Prix after his future at the team was called into question, could manage only the 14th best time on the provisional grid.

Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa was a more impressive 11th, his time of one minute 15.863 seconds comparing to Villeneuve's 1:16.794.

"After the significant improvement we made in Imola, we expected more here," said team boss Peter Sauber.

Villeneuve, who missed most of last year after being dropped by BAR in 2003, has struggled to get up to speed with Swiss-based Sauber.

"I've had problems all year warming up the tyres and getting the first lap out of them, more than my team mate and more than other teams apparently," he said.

"Once we get in the race after two or three laps our pace is good and we are okay, but here on this track with this asphalt it was even more extreme."

The Circuit de Catalunya has been resurfaced since last season and Villeneuve has done little testing on it, struggling so much in a session last month that Sauber replaced him with Massa after one day.

"I thought I was pushing it and I wanted to make sure I didn't make mistakes but obviously it made me not push," said Villeneuve of his qualifying run.

"That was just a very poor lap.

"I thought I was driving fast but the lap time just kept getting worse and worse and I had no idea why," he added.

"We had such a poor test here a month ago that we didn't really know where to start from and we were quite far away and we had many problems to fix at the same time," said the 34-year-old.

"We're still left with a little bit of the understeer and the car's on the limit of being nervous and it's a little bit difficult to drive.

"The asphalt on this track is different to any other asphalt we use and we're probably the only team that hasn't been testing that much.

"I think we just started a little bit too lost, we need one more day."

Reminded jokingly that he had at least fared better than former BAR team mate Jenson Button, whose team are suspended for two races after falling foul of the rules of weight and fuel, Villeneuve grinned wryly.

"With the lap I did today, not driving would be very similar," he said.

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