Sato Battles Nerves to Eclipse Button

Japan's Takuma Sato eclipsed BAR teammate Jenson Button in his first competitive drive for a year, finishing 11th in the first qualifying session for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Sato Battles Nerves to Eclipse Button

Japan's Takuma Sato eclipsed BAR teammate Jenson Button in his first competitive drive for a year, finishing 11th in the first qualifying session for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Sato, only driving in Sunday's season-ending race after Canadian Jacques Villeneuve quit BAR in protest at being dropped for the 2004 season, battled nerves to clock an impressive time of 1:31.832.

"Of course, I was quite nervous after being out for 12 months," said the 26-year-old Sato, unveiled in midweek as the replacement for former World Champion Villeneuve in 2004.

"It was my first time with the one-lap qualifying system, so I wanted to make sure I didn't make any silly mistakes today. Under the circumstances I have to be happy with the result."

Sato, who has worked as a test driver for the Honda-powered BAR team in 2003, insisted he had no illusions about emulating his memorable fifth-place finish for Jordan last year at Suzuka.

"That was amazing, but this is a totally different situation from last year. My job is to support Jenson in this race, so I will be doing everything I can do help the team," said Sato.

British teammate Button was 16th quickest on Friday in 1:32.374 after his engine blew up during free practice in the morning. Asked how he had felt about being told his BAR debut would come at Suzuka on Sunday, Sato said the news had come as a shock.

"It was such a sudden announcement, it was a bit of a shock really. But it was a good surprise," he said. "As a professional F1 driver you have to be ready mentally and physically. I wasn't expecting it...these things happen. The result today was a big bonus."

shares
comments
Ferrari expects a better Saturday

Previous article

Ferrari expects a better Saturday

Next article

Schumacher Predicts Close Battle for Pole

Schumacher Predicts Close Battle for Pole
Load comments
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Plus

Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021