An eighth-place finish for Jenson Button at Magny-Cours may not sound like much to write home about in the normal scheme of things, but in the light of Honda's 2007 trials and tribulations, it is almost akin to a victory.

Having gone seven races without even so much as coming close to scoring a point, the Briton's performance in France - including lapping faster than both reigning double world champion Fernando Alonso and Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella in the race's final stint - saw him finish just 2.3 seconds behind the former and ahead of Nico Rosberg's Williams courtesy of a relentlessly attacking drive from start to finish.

"It was an enjoyable race today," the 27-year-old enthused afterwards, "and we've shown the car has improved a lot with the new package. It's nice to have a car which gives me the confidence to push and I'm pleased with my fastest lap time relative to our competitors. This shows our race pace is improving, although we still need to work on our qualifying pace. Once we can get on top of that, we will be in a much stronger position to compete for points going forward.

"All credit to the whole team today as a faultless race with good pit-stops helped me make the most of our strategy. It was a good weekend and I'm looking forward to another one at the British Grand Prix next week."

Team-mate Rubens Barrichello, while similarly gaining three places off the starting grid, could not match Button's speed throughout the race and ultimately came home eleventh, leading home a train of cars including both Red Bull Racing machines.

"I was quite heavy on fuel for my opening stint," the Brazilian explained, "and I don't know if that hurt my first set of tyres because I just didn't have any pace in the car. After that, the pace began to improve, but unfortunately it was too late to make any further progress up the field.

"We will have to look into the reasons for the problems but on the positive side we can certainly say the car has improved at this race and it is encouraging to take that step forward. We need to maintain our focus now and work hard to bring further improvements."

"Jenson drove a very good race which proves the recent car developments have helped us to improve our race pace," added Honda engineering director Jacky Eeckelaert. "Rubens was not so happy with his brakes, and had to drive defensively as for much of the race he had lighter cars behind him. All in all one point is a small reward but well-deserved nonetheless."



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