Panis in seventh heaven

BAR enjoyed one of its most competitive sessions of the season in qualifying for the German GP and Olivier Panis made full use of the 004's improved performance to take his first top 10 qualifying position of the season

Panis in seventh heaven

Like Giancarlo Fisichella who qualified sixth, Panis benefited from Honda's latest engine improvements to take seventh on the grid.

"I'm delighted with seventh place today," he said. "I'm particularly happy for Honda because again we've seen the results of their efforts and signs that they have made another step in the right direction. We will be using the same engine tomorrow so I'm really optimistic that we can have a good race from where we are on the grid. We're in a good position now to fight for some points and I intend to make the most of that opportunity."

Jacques Villeneuve was just three tenths behind his team-mate, but the times were so tight that he was four places back in 11th. Like Panis he was happy with his car, and felt he could have done better were it not for traffic on his final flying lap.

"The car wasn't bad at all today," he admitted. "Our tyre combination worked well and I'm pleased with the improvement that we saw with the engine in qualifying. The problem today was with the traffic on my last run. The lap was quicker in the first two sectors but then I caught up with Coulthard for the last two corners and, instead of letting me by, he blocked me, which was very annoying as he was on his in-lap. I'm at the wrong end of the tenth today when I could have been inside the top ten had it not been for the problem on my last run."

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