MARCH 9, 2003
What happened at BAR?
Jenson Button was extremely unhappy at the end of the Australian Grand Prix, because his race had been totally spoiled by Jacques Villeneuve, his own team mate. Villeneuve and Button have never hit it off and the Canadian is also in an uncomfortable relationship with the team management under David Richards and what happened on Sunday is not going to help matters. Villeneuve was due to pit one lap before Button came in but despite alerting the team to his arrival Villeneuve then missed the pitstop and then arrived an lap later when the mechanics were ready to deal with Button. It is believed that Villeneuve was radioed and told to get out of the way and it is not clear why that did not happen.
David Richards said that Villeneuve "seemed" unable to hear his radio properly and did not move. The mechanics then had to find Villeneuve's tyres and fit them onto the car before he departed and let Button be sorted out. By the time that had happened Villeneuve had been in the pitlane for just over half a minute, around five or six seconds longer than normal but poor Button lost 44 seconds in pitlane and was furious with his team mate. Button went on to set the sixth fastest lap of the race and caught Villeneuve in the closing laps of the race, finishing the race just 0.4 secs behind him. But the two men were ninth and 10th.
"It was very frustrating for my team mate to come in on the wrong lap," he said, "and quite embarrassing really. The car worked well so it is very disappointing to finish where we did."
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