Friday Preview - Silverstone Arrows 08 Jul 2005
Can anyone catch Montoya and Raikkonen?
The question to be answered ahead of this weekend's race at Silverstone is will anyone be able to match the expected pace of the two McLarens?
Jenson Button was at his most candid yesterday when asked what he thought the likely performances would be at Silverstone.
"I dont think anyones got a chance compared to McLaren here," he said, "from what weve seen of testing." It isnt all bad news for Britains main hope, however. "I think that we can still have a good race," he added, of his BAR Honda team. "I think we will probably be a bit closer to the Renaults here and Ferrari will be very good competition and you never know whats going to happen with Red Bull and Williams. Its going to be a competitive race, and Im sure we can put on a very good show, but its just what the end result is. Definitely I think that McLaren are going to walk it. I dont really want to say that, but I think its true."
Fellow Britain David Coulthard also says that what happens on Sunday is all that really counts. After signing a one-year extension to his contract earlier in the week, the Scot said: Our actual pace in the race in Magny-Cours was comparable with Nurburgring but for the qualifying performance. We put ourselves in a bad slot. I think I had sixth fastest race lap which in previous parts of my career I wouldnt look at too much, but I think its significant that we were quicker than Williams, quicker than Ferrari in the race, catching those guys, so the car shows good pace in certain circumstances."
Though Red Bulls testing pace at Silverstone hasnt been great, Coulthard added: "I think its very much down to how the tyres perform and the track temperature on the day. We will just have a better picture on Sunday, because even if youve had a good test theres no points for that, no result yet. Its in the races that you are judged, so we will see."
Giancarlo Fisichella was trying to be upbeat, but acknowledged McLarens likely superiority. "I think McLarens pace was really strong in testing. But I think apart from McLaren we are there, our pace wasnt too bad during the last test we had here. We can fight to score points, to get on the podium for sure. The characteristics of the circuit are maybe not perfect for the car, but I think we can do a great result."
Meanwhile, the three McLaren MP4-20s were in bits in the garage as the silver arrows were prepared for the weekend. "I think we can be quick here," Kimi Raikkonen said quietly. "I think Silverstone should suit us well, and I love racing here."