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Button puts Honda on the score sheet at last 01 Jul 2007

Jenson Button (GBR) Honda Racing F1 Team in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, French Grand Prix, Race, Magny-Cours, France, Sunday, 1 July 2007 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Honda RA107 leads Ralf Schumacher (GER) Toyota TF107.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, French Grand Prix, Race, Magny-Cours, France, Sunday, 1 July 2007

It’s been a long time coming, but in Sunday’s French Grand Prix - eight rounds into the 2007 season - Honda finally secured their first point of the year, with eighth place for Jenson Button.

The team introduced a number of mechanical and aero updates to their beleaguered RA107 at last week’s Jerez test and, though no one in the team was predicting huge gains this weekend, there was a genuine improvement in the car’s performance.

Button and team mate Rubens Barrichello came away from Saturday’s Magny-Cours qualifying session satisfied with their respective grid positions - 12th and 13th - and confident that their race pace should be even better. And so it proved.

Both men gained three places at the start of the race, but it was Button who seemed more at home with his revised machine. In terms of fastest laps, he was quicker than both the BMW Saubers, and only fraction slower than Giancarlo Fisichella’s Renault.

"It was an enjoyable race today and we've shown that the car has improved a lot with the new package,” commented Button. “It's nice to have a car which gives me the confidence to push and I'm pleased with my fastest lap time relative to our competitors. This shows that our race pace is improving, although we still need to work on our qualifying pace.”

Barrichello’s best race lap - on his way to 11th place - was half a second slower than Button’s, but both he and the team will take encouragement from the RA107’s renewed vigour as they head to next weekend’s British Grand Prix.

"On the positive side we can certainly say that the car has improved at this race and it is encouraging to take that step forward,” said Barrichello. “We need to maintain our focus now and work hard to bring further improvements."

Honda’s French point means they lie ninth in the constructors’ standings, with Toro Rosso and Spyker now the only teams yet to score in 2007.