Jenson Button turned around a horrible qualifying session complete with engine change to bring his car home 13th in Istanbul – and still managed to achieve his goal of having fun!
He was sent to the back of the grid after accepting an engine penalty post-qualifying. He had lined the car up 15th but he felt a loss of power at the end of Q2 that left his Honda team sceptical about its prospects for the race.
Speaking after qualifying he said: “The first three runs went well. On the last run I tried to push the car a bit more but I just ended up with a big snap of oversteer and lost quite a bit of time.
“That’s where we’re at, though. You either drive the car round and do OK or try to push and then you’re on a knife-edge.
“That’s what we’re dealing with I’m afraid. We’ll have to see what we can do in the race.”
However Button went on to pass 10 cars on the track, bringing the Honda home higher than his original qualifying position of 15th and – crucially – putting in a better fastest lap time than either of the Super Aguris.
He also managed to beat team-mate Rubens Barrichello who had qualified 14th and who eventually finished in 17th place.
Speaking post-race, he said that passing those 10 cars had been “a lot of fun.”
He added: “If you put to one side where we finished – because 13th position is still far from a good result – I think we had a reasonable race.
“I had a good time and was able to pass quite a few of the midfield competitors that we’ve been struggling to keep pace with in recent races.
“Obviously starting from the back of the grid is not something I want to have to repeat but we did a good job to fight for something better and I think the team can be pleased with our performance today.”
Jacky Eeckelaert, Honda’s Director of Engineering, also expressed cautious optimism, saying: “Starting from the back row of the grid, it was never going to be an easy race today.
“However, Jenson drove a strong race, making best use of the car to progress from 21st to 13th position and overtaking 10 cars on the track.”