Atlas F1 News Service, a Reuters report
Young Button Alongside Schumacher on Grid

Saturday April 22nd, 2000

By Julia Hutton

Jenson Button fuelled the frenzy surrounding his arrival in Formula One on Saturday by again qualifying ahead of his team mate Ralf Schumacher to secure a place alongside Michael Schumacher on the British Grand Prix grid.

The 20-year-old, whose previous highest qualifying position was ninth in Brazil, overcame a frustrating morning after losing control of his Williams because of the wet conditions to finish the day sixth best.

It was a remarkable outcome after the Briton lost valuable set-up time ahead of afternoon qualifying and completed only four laps in the opening two free practice slots.

"The start of the day was very difficult," he said. "I lost all my testing time in the wet. But, I hoped that it would be dry in the afternoon and it was. I now feel very happy.

"I felt really low this morning because it was such a shame not to be able to get out much this morning. I couldn't do anything."

Button also out-qualified compatriots Eddie Irvine and Johnny Herbert in the Jaguars and will line up for the first time alongside his boyhood hero in the Ferrari. Schumacher was fifth.

"This has been a good afternoon and to be starting alongside Michael Schumacher is a great feeling," he continued. "I can't stop smiling now, quite a contrast from this morning.

"I'm not intimidated by being alongside Michael. It is great to be there. I just hope I'll be there with him at the end.

"Sixth on the grid is a great start. I have just got to keep that up and finish the race."

Button's performance was also the perfect response to speculation that his Williams team are to decide on his future soon, with Indy Car driver Juan Pablo Montoya of Colombia waiting in the wings to replace him.

He has qualified ahead of his team mate twice in four attempts this season.

"The only pressure I felt was on myself today was the pressure that I was putting myself under."

Previous  |  News Index  |  Next  ]

© 2001 Reuters Limited. Click for restrictions
Copyright & Terms