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As he crossed the line this afternoon at Silverstone, Fernando Alonso whooped with joy in the radio.
"Four in a row boys, fourth consecutive pole" he said as he thanked the team. And so, after taking pole position in Europe, Spain, Monaco and now Great Britain, the world championship leader will start from the front row for tomorrow's British Grand Prix, alongside Kimi Raikkonen. The secret to his spectacular pole lap? Keeping his foot flat to the floor in the daunting, seventh-gear Copse corner.
On the other side of the garage, Giancarlo Fisichella secured a strong third-row starting spot for tomorrow's race. Some minor set-up changes prior to the session meant he was unable to fully display the potential of the R26 at his disposal, as he lost time in the opening sector. However, running a competitive strategy, he hopes to make progress up the field in tomorrow's race.
Fernando Alonso: I was really pleased to get pole today – my fourth in a row. I made a little mistake on my first flying lap in the super-pole and I knew it was close with Michael. So we fitted another set of tyres, and I managed to do a better lap. I think conditions out there today were quite difficult for everybody, so we made some changes to the car before the session that gave us some more grip, and stabilised the car balance a little bit. Tomorrow's race is going to be interesting because nobody has really done any long runs, so I think there may be some surprises with the tyres. So far, though, the Michelin tyres have been excellent and I am confident. This a great pole for the team, because it proves that Renault is not relaxing – we are taking the fight to Ferrari.
Giancarlo Fisichella: We made some changes to the car before qualifying and the car was on an edge in the first sector. I couldn't attack the quick corners properly and I was losing time in the first sector. So fifth is a bit disappointing, because we had a front row car today. Even so, I am still in a strong position, and very optimistic for tomorrow's race.
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: This was a really exciting qualifying session, and a great result for the Renault team. Fernando's last lap was something really special, and he took turn 1 at Copse as close to flat as makes no difference. We must not forget Giancarlo either, who is in a strong position. I am happy we have not compromised our race strategy for qualifying performance, and the high temperatures this weekend seem to be suiting both our car and its Michelin tyres. We are looking forward to a good strong race tomorrow.
Denis Chevrier, Head of Trackside Engine Operations: We spent much of yesterday learning about a circuit that is very different to when we last tested here, owing to the significant swing in temperatures. Today, though, we really got to the heart of the matter with a fascinating qualifying session. Both cars enjoyed smooth sessions, progressing from the first and second sessions without any problems. The car and its RS26 engine were clearly performing competitively, and we have a driver at each end of a very close, competitive group of cars. We believe we have prepared sensibly for the race, and that the ingredients are in place for a strong team result. It's going to be a tough fight – and one that we will relish.
To check out our Silverstone qualifying gallery, click here
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