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Mixed emotions for Honda after Bahrain

While five points was below expectations, the Honda Racing F1 Team drew many positives from its performance in the opening round of this year's FIA Formula One World Championship.

Honda drivers set the pace in two of the three pre-race Free Practice sessions and Jenson Button was the highest placed Michelin runner on Sunday's starting grid with Rubens Barrichello also lining up among the top six qualifiers. However, neither driver managed to maximise his potential on race day; Jenson's chances of challenging for a win were hit by a clutch problem on the starting grid while a gearbox glitch prevented Rubens from scoring points on his debut.

Despite these set-backs Gil de Ferran, the team's Sporting Director, was keen to look on the bright side as he and the team prepared to head East to Sepang: "Jenson drove a brilliant race, pushing hard throughout and showing that we had very similar pace to the leaders," he enthused. "Unfortunately he had a clutch problem at the start which dropped him back and ended up compromising the whole race. Rubens was running well early on but he lost the use of a gear which wiped out his chances. We come away from Bahrain disappointed with our final result but at the same time very encouraged by the performance of our car and drivers and looking forward to Malaysia."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director at Honda Racing Development shared these mixed emotions. He said: "A disappointing result. Looking at the positives, Jenson's pace matched that of Fernando [Alonso] and Michael [Schumacher] for most of the afternoon, and he drove his customary strong race throughout, but the start spoilt his chances of a better finish. It was a shame for Rubens that his debut race for us was affected by a gearbox problem. The V8 engine has been strong the whole weekend, and we remain positive for next week."
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