Jenson Button is celebrating his second top-ten grid slot of the season after a storming qualifying session at Monza.
He produced a magnificent lap around halfway through the session that temporarily propelled him into eighth place and won him a shot at the top-ten shoot out. His fastest lap of 1:23.165 eventually secured him a tenth-place grid slot.
The result is his best since Monte Carlo where he also qualified tenth – but on that occasion he was unable to capitalise on his grid position and ended the race in 11th place.
Team-mate Rubens Barrichello will also have something to smile about after lining up his car 12th – giving both drivers an outside shot at points and an opportunity to finally overhaul the tally of Honda B-squad Super Aguri.
Speaking after the session, Button said: “I’m really pleased to have made it through into the top ten for the first time in quite a while.
“It took some time to really get to grips with the car this afternoon and it wasn’t working well for the first few runs. However, we made improvements over the three sessions and got the best out of the car in the end.”
He said the team had made changes to the front and rear suspension as well as bringing a new aero package along to Italy.
“It is definitely helping us. Aero has been our main problem but we’re not losing out too much with the low levels of drag that you need around Monza. The car is also looking after the tyres well which shows that it is mechanically sound.”
He is now hoping to get a good start from tenth position and have a crack at some points: “Strategy will be crucial and I’m confident we have a good race package, but it will also depend on the performance and reliability of the teams in front of us.
“This is a step forward and although we’re unlikely to be scoring good points this season, it has given a boost to everyone here and back at the factory and is a small reward for all the hard work.”