Villeneuve sixth despite lack of running

Jacques Villeneuve put in an impressive performance in first qualifying for the French Grand Prix, setting the seventh fastest time despite the fact that BAR's legal troubles meant that his flying lap was his first run of the weekend

Villeneuve sixth despite lack of running

The team was unable to run in the practice session this morning (Friday), because its cars had been impounded by French police as a result of claims made by a firm called PPGI. Although the cars were released in time for qualifying, this meant that both Villeneuve and Jenson Button went into the session without having driven a lap of the circuit, which has been significantly revised for this year.

"I was quite happy with my lap under the circumstances," said Villeneuve. "It's been a frustrating day but there wasn't anything I could do so I just had to work with what I had in a single lap. We started with a good set-up so that was a bonus and all the work we've done at other tracks in the wet certainly helped us today.

"It's very hard to produce a great lap when you have no knowledge of how the car is going to react, how it will be under braking and, actually, where the optimum braking point is. Hopefully we can settle down to some proper set-up work tomorrow to prepare for final qualifying."

By contrast, team-mate Button ended the day slowest of all. The Briton ran earlier in the session than Villeneuve, when conditions were worse, but was further hampered by the team's decision to run him on 'extreme' wet tyres.

"We didn't know how much grip there was going to be on the track, so we decided to be quite conservative with the tyre choice," said Button. "In hindsight that was obviously the wrong choice but we had nothing to base our decision on and we felt the extreme wet would get up to temperature much more quickly."

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