Villeneuve Surprised by Sauber's Pace

Canadian Jacques Villeneuve was surprised with his Sauber team's pace at today's French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours

The former World Champion put on a solid performance in France to score a point for his Sauber team after finishing in eighth position.

Villeneuve admitted after the race his car's pace was more encouraging than the point scored.

"That was not bad at all," said the Canadian. "The car was good from start to finish, quite driveable, and I was able to push hard all the way.

"My only concern was when it was running with the fuel load after my second stop as it began bottoming in Turn 1 and I ran out of road there. That corner was flat for me all weekend but from then on I was having to lift off a little after that.

"It was good to score another point today, but what was even more enjoyable was the fact that we were more competitive than I expected we would be. That was very encouraging."

In contrast to Villeneuve's almost trouble-free race, his teammate Felipe Massa was left disappointed after retiring with a gearbox problem.

"To begin with everything was going well," he said. "The car was running strongly until I began to experience a loss of hydraulic pressure around lap 25. First of all the steering started to become very heavy, then I couldn't select the gears.

"After a couple of laps I had to come into the pits and the team tried to fix the problem. I went out again, but it was still there so I had to retire. What is most frustrating is that our race pace was very good. I was faster than several of the top five cars and the Michelin tyres were getting better every lap.

"I'm sure I could have scored well today. Points would have been easy."

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