Atlas F1 News Service

Happy Panis Feels Sorry for Villeneuve

Saturday June 9th, 2001

Olivier Panis during today's qualifying sessionFrenchman Olivier Panis outqualified British American Racing teammate and local hero Jacques Villeneuve on the way to his best qualifying effort with the Brackley-based team.

The veteran driver returned to the track where he broke his legs back in 1997 and set a promising sixth quickest time for tomorrow's Canadian Grand Prix. Panis was pleased with his performance, though he admitted he felt sorry for Canadian Villeneuve.

"I am happy for the team with the qualifying position that we achieved today," said Panis. "I am disappointed for Jacques as he had a bad day yesterday which has set him back slightly.

"This is my best qualifying position so far this season so I am happy with that. As always the team and my engineer David Lloyd did a great job. I am looking forward to the race."

Meanwhile, Villeneuve was moderately happy to be starting from ninth position at his home Grand Prix, especially after the problems he suffered during Friday's practice. The Canadian driver crashed heavily yesterday, missing the whole second session, and was hampered by mechanical problems this morning.

"After the problems we had yesterday we have made some progress so I am relatively happy with the outcome," said the 1997 world champion. "I have not had much running time so we had to work on set-up throughout the qualifying session so it has been very tough. We have still not achieved our ideal set-up so we have a lot of work still to do."

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