First podium finish for BAR
April 29th, 2001
Jacques Villeneuve, and the
whole BAR team, had good reason to celebrate in Spain today. For the first time since
Hungary 1998, the Canadian finished a race in the top three, and at the same time scored
the first podium finish for his team. He was 49.626 seconds behind race winner Michael
Schumacher when he crossed the finish line in 3rd place, after running within the top six
for most of the day.
Even though he had inherited 3rd because of Mika Hakkinen's bad luck, in the end it is the
result that counts and Jacques was thrilled. "It is great!" he exclaimed.
"Everybody in the team has worked extremely hard over the last three years and this
result was much needed for us all. It was particularly satisfying to provide Honda with
their first podium since returning to Formula1. It was a hard race and we still have a lot
of work to do, but this result is a positive step forward."
Team mate Olivier Panis was 7th and just out of the points. Starting from 11th place, the
Frenchman managed to drive a very consistent race, and towards the end was attacking
Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld for 6th, but was not able to pass him.
"First of all I am extremely happy for Jacques and the team for achieving their first
podium," the Frenchman said. "It has been, without doubt, long overdue. All of
the team has put in a tremendous amount of work so it is a great result. As far as my race
is concerned, I pushed as much as I could but I had a problem with the car during my pit
stop, which hindered my chances of finishing in the points. This is a very positive result
for the team and no doubt gives us all confidence going forward."
Team Principal Craig Pollock was more then happy with the result. "I am absolutely
delighted," he said. "I am very happy for everyone at British American Racing.
It has been sitting there to take, and luck can go two ways and it went our way today. I
would like to take this opportunity of congratulating the whole team, all of our sponsors
and Honda for all their commitment and effort. Now I am going to congratulate Jacques. It
is a brilliant end to the weekend."