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Button likely to start race from pit lane 31 May 2003

Jenson Button (GBR) BAR in the paddock, follwed by his father John Button (GBR).
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, 29 May 2003

After his accident at the chicane in practice here this morning, Jenson Button has been persuaded by the BAR team not to take part in this afternoon's qualifying session for the Monaco Grand Prix.

Button sustained no serious injuries, suffering nothing worse than slight nausea, and was cleared to participate if he wished by FIA medical delegate Professor Sid Watkins.

Instead, however, the team will take further medical advice on Sunday morning and Button is likely to start tomorrow's race from the pit lane, despite the inherent disadvantages on a circuit where overtaking is all but impossible.

"He really wants to be out there, but it would not be the best thing for him," team principal David Richards said. "It is really the only sensible thing to do. We are all relieved that Jenson is okay, and I really don't think that having to go straight from the accident to a single qualifying lap would have been the thing to do."

Button remained in the Princess Grace Hospital during the session, and said: "I was going for the front row here, and I really think I had a good shot at it. It's a great shame, because the car has felt really good here all weekend."

BAR technical director Geoff Willis said the team had examined footage of Button's accident, and was satisfied that nothing had broken on the car.

"It looks like he lost the car, but we are not quite sure why at this stage," explained Willis. "We studied the television pictures as much as we could to try and establish if something had broken, and are pretty happy that wasn't the case and allowed Jacques (Villeneuve) to continue."

Button was second fastest on Thursday morning and third in the afternoon's qualifying session, making him eligible for the race. He had set seventh fastest time this morning just before his crash.