Button and Villeneuve endure disappointment for not finishing race

MONTREAL: BAR Honda team endured another disappointment when both their drivers Jenson Button and Jacques Villenueve failed to finish the Canadian Grand Prix race here on Sunday. 

Button retired on lap 51 after a gearbox failure in his car while former world champion Villeneuve's race came to an end earlier on lap 14 due to a brake fluid leak. 

From a qualifying position of 17th, Button had fought his way up into sixth position by lap 22. 

The young Briton moved down to tenth position after the second round of pit stops and was catching McLaren's David Coulthard before he was forced to retire with the gearbox failure. 

Shuhei Nakamoto, engineering director for Honda Racing Development, was left ruing the chances that came their way. 

“We had a really strong package here this weekend and I was looking forward to seeing the results. However, it was not to be. 

“It has been particularly tough on Villeneuve being his home race, but it's also a shame that Button was forced out of the action. 

“We'll be back fighting at the next race in Nurburgring on June 29,” he said. 

Button said: “This was always going to be a difficult race for me given my grid position. The car felt good early on but I was stuck in a lot of traffic for most of the first stint. I got more and more understeer in the low-speed corners and it was impossible to overtake. “It’s a very disappointing end to a difficult weekend for the team.” 

Villeneuve was also disappointed to have failed to given the home crowd something to cheer. 

“Obviously it’s very disappointing to face yet another retirement here. I had a good start and I’d moved up to ninth. The car felt really good, it was well balanced and it’s a shame because we could easily have picked up some points today. Gradually I started to lose my brakes and the pedal was getting longer and longer. I came in for my pitstop and the team tried to pinpoint the problem and cool the brakes.  

“I went back out for a lap but I had to come in again because by that time I had nothing under braking. 

Sometimes only seven cars finish a race so the team tried to fix the problem. They started to replace the left rear caliper and stop the leak but it was clear that our race was over. 

“I’ve had a lot of support here this weekend and it would have been nice to at least finish in front of my home crowd,” he lamented. 

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