Canada GP: Race notes - Renault


A dramatic and chaotic Canadian Grand Prix once again saw a day of mixed fortunes for the ING Renault F1 Team. After starting dead last, Heikki Kovalainen took an impressive fourth-place finish in this afternoon's race. Good fortune certainly played a part but it is often said that you make your own luck in Formula 1, and the Finnish rookie drove an assured, mistake-free race as he picked off his competitors, resisting pressure from Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso in the final ten laps as he attempted to find a way past Alexander Wurz – and onto the podium. Giancarlo Fisichella ran strongly in the opening part of the race, overtaking rivals at the start and keeping in touch with the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen ahead of him. Although he never had clean air to show the improved performance of the R27, his competitiveness was such that a podium finish would have been within his grasp. However, a mistake after his pit-stop under the first safety car period saw him leave the pit-lane while the light was still red, which resulted in his disqualification on lap 53.

Heikki Kovalainen: This was such a satisfying result for me. Of course, I needed some luck to score points after starting last – but you have to take advantage of your opportunities, and I think I did exactly that. I seemed to spend a lot of the afternoon overtaking other cars, but we had changed the set-up before qualifying to give me better straightline speed and that definitely paid off. The conditions were very hard, with a lot of marbles out on the track, and it was really easy to make mistakes. I didn't make any, and this is a great reward after two really hard days here in Montreal. All the problems I had this weekend only made me more determined to succeed, and it just goes to show that you should never, ever give up. You have to stay positive, keep looking ahead and the results will come. Everything fell into place for me today, and hopefully things will continue the same way next weekend in Indy.

Giancarlo Fisichella: I was having a great race, but it ended up being a bad day for me. The podium was within my reach, and it's so frustrating to miss out on a golden opportunity. In terms of the incident coming out of the pits, I was concentrating on Kubica who was alongside me, and so focused on beating him that I didn't see the red light. On the positive side, though, the car was clearly competitive today – and we were competitive with Ferrari. That's positive for next weekend, and I will be hoping for a better afternoon in Indy.

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: I think the only person who had a trouble-free race this afternoon was Lewis Hamilton. For everybody else, it was a case of trying to make as few mistakes as possible. We have some important positive points to take from the race. Giancarlo was fast all weekend, and his pace was competitive with Ferrari in the race. As for Heikki, he showed why we still believe in him. He held off Raikkonen and Alonso at the end, kept a cool head all the way through, and did a fantastic job. Congratulations to him on a great race. Now, the challenge will be to take the maximum from the improved performance of the car next weekend in Indy.

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: It was a very mixed day for the team, after one of the most exciting races for many years. On the one hand, we are extremely disappointed that Giancarlo lost a likely third place through a simple mistake that, to be honest, anybody can make in the heat of the moment. Giancarlo's first instinct is to race, and his concentration at the pit exit was on racing Kubica; under those circumstances, it is easy to miss the light. In contrast, Heikki scored a fantastic result. He went from last place to fourth through a combination of luck, strategy and excellent driving on his part. It just goes to show that the race is never over until the chequered flag falls. We also saw a terrifying accident this afternoon, and we were all relieved to learn that Kubica was not severely injured. That he should survive an accident of that magnitude is an eloquent tribute to the continuous hard work that the teams and the FIA put into constantly improving the safety standards in our sport.

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Published: 10/06/2007
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