They may have luck to credit for it but Super Aguri can rightly claim to the proud owner of their first ever Formula 1 point after a marvellous drive by Takuma Sato delivered a landmark eighth place in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Although a result like this has been cautiously predicted since the team revealed their much improved competitveness from the off in Melbourne, the single point nonetheless represents the culmination of a collosal effort from the Leafield-based team.

To give their result some scope, Sato was crossing the line at the Circuit de Catalunya twelve months ago some four laps off the lead and over three seconds a lap down on the leaders. This year Aguri can claim to have out paced a Renault and two Hondas, while they have also halved the margin per lap to the leaders.

It was an opportunistic drive by Sato, the Japanese driver making the most of the Honda-powered car's strong reliability to stay the course, crucially forging ahead of Rubens Barrichello when he stopped later and then making the most of Giancarlo Fisichella's need to pit with only five laps remaining to move into a very popular eighth place.

Naturally, Sato was overwhelmed by the result, admitting that he could never have predicted he would be leading a Renault over the line just 18 months on from when the team didn't even exist.

"Just an amazing weekend, a truly great performance from the team. I don't have the words really..... just one year plus four races, scoring one point in a head-to-head straight fight....beating Renault and grabbing the point.

"I just never expected this result, I'm really deeply proud of the work the team has done back in Leafield and all the team at Honda Tochigi, our sponsors, fans, families, all the people who support us. I just cannot describe how happy we are and a point means much more than anything else for us and this is an absolutely fantastic result.

"It was a tough race and especially through the first two stints. I was struggling a little with the pace, but I just kept on going and never gave up until the last stint when the car came back on a good balance and I was able to drive really hard.

"I was fighting with Giancarlo but I could not see him ahead of me and my race engineer kept saying "we're fighting with Renault" and I just put my foot down. When I saw Giancarlo coming down the pitlane and I was a fraction ahead of him, it was just fantastic. Well done everybody."

 

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