by Russell Atkins

Anthony Davidson held his hand up for the error that has left him down in 19th spot on the starting grid for his maiden British Grand Prix, ruing the bad luck that has plagued him since the beginning of the season.

The Super Aguri star had looked a sure-fire bet for a solid qualifying run after figuring inside the top ten in two of the three practice sessions, and narrowly outside in the third. Misfortune, however, lay just around the corner.

"We've shown good pace all the way through this weekend," Davidson told Crash.net, "and I think it was going to continue into qualifying. The car felt good in the morning and we all said to ourselves after free practice three that Q2 should be easily doable.

"I had a steady first run and the car felt pretty good. The track was in a worse condition obviously from the Porsches going round before, and I was five tenths down on my time from free practice, but I wasn't too bothered about that. It was just to get a banker in, and it was good enough for the time that everyone else was out there.

"On the second run I just got held up in traffic; you could say we got our timing wrong, but you can't control cars coming out of the pit-lane and that's exactly what happened. They all just flowed out and I had a sea of cars in front of me going into turns two and three, and they didn't realise I was on a flyer; they thought I was one of them, just leaving the pits on a warm-up lap. They completely got in the way and the lap was ruined, so I backed off as much as I could once I had got clear of the group and tried to recompose as much as I could.

"The red mist was flying, though, and trying to heat my rear tyres up - which we've been having trouble with all week on our out laps - I slightly overdid it coming out of Brooklands. I gave it everything to try and get some heat into them, and just overcooked it. The traction control couldn't quite keep up with what I was doing and just spat me into the gravel, but we shouldn't have been in that situation in the first place. It was just completely out of our control - another bit of bad luck."

Though he acknowledged making it as far as Q3 - which the Japanese outfit has managed on just one occasion so far in 2007 courtesy of Davidson's team-mate Takuma Sato in Melbourne - was always going to be a supremely tall order, the penultimate row of the grid was nevertheless an undeniably disappointing result.

"It was going to be a difficult task," the 28-year-old admitted, "but as it was we never got to find out anyway. I think I should have realistically been 14th or 15th - that's really where the car is at this moment, the most we can wring out of it. Other teams really found some pace it seems for qualifying; it was just disappointing not to get a proper run and a proper read on the car and track.

"It was still windy, standing out there on the circuit. In the last corner you could feel the wind, but it was nothing like what it had been on Friday. That was just ridiculous - I've never driven in conditions as bad as that in the dry before. It was chaos, and left lots of people struggling with the balance of the car. Our car seemed to be alright though, and I figured out a way how to drive around the wind."

Looking ahead to the race and remainder of the his first full season in the top flight - one he has had to wait some six years for - the Hemel Hempstead ace said he feared the squad's points-scoring opportunities were now beginning to fade as the bigger-budget teams continue to throw more and more money at developing their cars. He insisted, however, he would keep on fighting until the end.

"It's been really worth the wait," he enthused. "I just wish I could have had some points in the bag by now. I feel those chances are maybe slipping away now we're losing touch with the faster cars; we need even more luck than ever to score them at this point in the year, but you never know.

"There are some interesting circuits coming up. Magny-Cours and Silverstone were always going to be tough - they're very dependent on having a good aero package and a slippery car, whereas we've maybe got a slight bit too much drag compared to the very top teams.

"We're pushing all the time, limited by budget as is every small team. We had a new floor in Magny-Cours, which didn't really give us the speed we had hoped for. It did improve the car slightly, but we're just starting to lose touch with the top teams basically. We knew that was going to happen this year. When you're a very small team you can start off strong but then - not through anyone's fault - you just don't improve as the year goes on. The bigger teams with their fancy pants wind tunnels and money coming out of their ear holes can improve their cars while you simply can't.

"Obviously Toro Rosso have their quick-shift gearbox now too; that gains you about two or three tenths a lap, so they've slightly moved ahead of us, or at least on a par. There's a real challenge for me and Taku. We've really got to crack on and just play to all our strengths.

"We can't expect points anymore; we never did expect them, it's just when you've scored them you do raise your expectations. Maybe this is just a good reminder to realise we're not a top team and we have been punching above our weight and this is where we belong. There's no more we can really do."

 

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