Lauda Hails Webber, Disappointed by Pizzonia

Former Jaguar Formula One boss Niki Lauda hailed the team's Australian driver Mark Webber for a 'perfect job' on Friday but said Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia had disappointed him.

Lauda Hails Webber, Disappointed by Pizzonia

Former Jaguar Formula One boss Niki Lauda hailed the team's Australian driver Mark Webber for a 'perfect job' on Friday but said Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia had disappointed him.

Lauda, dismissed by the Ford-owned team late last year, appointed both drivers after a clear-out that saw Briton Eddie Irvine and Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa lose their seats.

Webber, who qualified third for the rainswept Brazilian Grand Prix two weeks ago, was a strong fifth in Friday's first qualifying for the San Marino Grand Prix.

"He performed very well in the wet, which is always complicated, and here too," said Lauda, at Imola as a commentator for Germany's RTL television.

"I am a little bit disappointed about Pizzonia because I thought he might be a little closer. I always knew that Webber, because of his experience, would be in the lead but Webber's doing a perfect job.

"I really don't know what they (Jaguar) are doing to be honest but Pizzonia would need for sure more guidance from the top which nobody will do there, I guess."

Pizzonia qualified 18th in Australia, 15th in Malaysia and 17th in Brazil while Webber was 14th, 16th and third. The Brazilian was 15th fastest on Friday. The 22-year-old rookie said he suffered an engine problem in Friday morning testing and was unable to get in a low fuel run before qualifying in the spare.

Jaguar's Mark Gillan, in charge of trackside operations, said the team were confident they had overcome a fuel pick-up problem that troubled them in the first three races.

"Today was the first time we have gone into qualifying on an equal footing with the other teams," he said. "The fact that Mark has gone fifth fastest today is the clearest indication yet of the improved direction that Jaguar Racing is taking.

"Given that we have outqualified both Renaults and McLaren in true qualifying trim, it's very clear to see the progress we have made relative to last year."

Lauda said he was impressed by the improvement.

"The car's not so bad," he said. "To be fifth here and to be the quickest in the wet, you need a good car for that."

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