The ING Renault F1 Team scored its best result of the 2007 season so far with a fourth-place finish for Giancarlo Fisichella in the Monaco Grand Prix. The Italian started from the same position and produced a mistake-free, competitive drive to finish twenty seconds ahead of his closest rival. Running a two stop strategy, and using hard tyres for the first stint before switching to the softer compound, he was able to build a comfortable gap in the opening stint, maintain it during the second, and then conserve the car during the final laps.
His team-mate Heikki Kovalainen endured a more difficult afternoon. Starting from 15th on the grid after having his qualifying run spoiled on Saturday afternoon, the Finn ran a one-stop strategy, using hard tyres followed by the soft. He was held up by David Coulthard's Red Bull through the first stint, and with overtaking almost impossible in Monaco, was unable to pass. He jumped ahead of the Briton at his pit-stop, but was subsequently left too far from other rivals to make up further positions. The Finn was classified 13th overall.
Giancarlo Fisichella: It was a very good result for me and the team, and encouraging for the future. We should be proud of the job we did at the circuit this weekend, and say thank you to all the people in the factory whose hard work made it possible. The car had more grip thanks to a new wing, and the consistency was much better too. I was happy with the race I drove, pushing all the way through the first two stints until we knew for sure that my position was safe. It was good to finish ahead of BMW for the first time, and now we have some more time to push again at the factory, and make more progress. Canada is another good circuit for me, so hopefully we can take another step forward there.
Heikki Kovalainen: I think this was a weekend to forget for me. It didn't start well, qualifying was difficult, and I wasn't able to make up any ground in the race. I got stuck behind Coulthard in the first stint and although I got past him at the stops, and pushed hard after that, it wasn't enough to catch the cars in front. Then at the end, something happened with the engine and I lost almost all the power and drive. It is all the more frustrating because the car felt good through the weekend, but at the critical points, it just didn't happen for me. I suppose the race was really spoiled on Saturday afternoon, but that's history now. It's time to look forward to Canada, where I think we can be confident of a competitive performance. It's another new track for me, and I am looking forward to driving there.
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: Giancarlo put in a fantastic performance all weekend, and congratulations to him for his fourth place. From the team's point of view, it is encouraging to have moved closer to the front of the field, and back towards our normal level of performance. Our step forward confirms that we are moving in the right direction at the factory, and credit goes to all the people who have worked night and day in the last few weeks. We know that there is still a long way to go, and we will be aiming to make steps forward with each race. I am confident that we can continue to improve from here.
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: Giancarlo drove a smooth and competitive race, and was untroubled in achieving our best result so far this year. We called him in early for his first stop to avoid traffic, but other than that, planning his strategy was straightforward, and his race turned out the same way. After Heikki's problem in qualifying, it was natural for him to run a one-stop race and at a circuit like Monaco, it was always going to be very difficult to improve on his starting position. The strategy was slightly compromised by an early first stop because of a left rear puncture, which was caused by a brush with the wall. On top of that, his engine lost a significant amount of power on the last lap, and we need to investigate the cause of the problem. Overall, though, it has been an encouraging weekend for us, and we will look to confirm this improved performance at the next races.
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