Richards Confident BAR will Finish Second

BAR chief David Richards has expressed total confidence in the ability of Jenson Button and Takuma Sato to secure second place for the team in this year's Constructors' Championship.

Richards Confident BAR will Finish Second

BAR chief David Richards has expressed total confidence in the ability of Jenson Button and Takuma Sato to secure second place for the team in this year's Constructors' Championship.

Button finished second behind Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello in Sunday's inaugural Chinese Grand Prix with Sato sixth, extending BAR's lead over Renault to nine points with two races left.

"I am very proud of the drivers," Richards told Reuters. "They drove an impeccable race. They both did a terrific job."

Button's first Grand Prix victory eluded him again in Shanghai as the Briton settled for his fourth second place finish of the season.

Japanese teammate Sato roared home in sixth after starting from the back of the grid following an engine blowout in practice.

"Jenson drove fantastically but I'm particularly delighted with sixth for Taku from the back of the grid - perhaps his best drive to date," said Richards.

BAR, who have not won a race since making their Formula One debut in 1999, have 105 points with Renault on 96 with only the Japanese and Brazilian Grands Prix to come.

Dog Fight

Richards acknowledged, however, that the Honda-powered team were still in a dog fight for second place.

"We can't afford to relax," he said. "We need to work hard to protect the lead we have and make sure we finish the job."

Renault hired Canadian Jacques Villeneuve, who acrimoniously left BAR in October 2003, for the final three races of the season.

It has added a late twist to the season, although former World Champion Villeneuve could finish only 11th in China.

Richards said Button and Sato were more than a match for Villeneuve and Renault teammate Fernando Alonso.

"I believe I've got the two best drivers and that we will do it," he said. "We've worked very hard for this."

Button, who stunned Richards last month by announcing he would return to Williams, celebrated into the early hours of Monday at BAR's post-race party at a Shanghai nightclub, along with Schumacher and McLaren's David Coulthard.

"I'm confident (BAR) can do a good job in the next two," said Button. "We've got to stay consistent, focused...and not get too excited."

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