Malaysia GP: Qualifying notes - Renault


The ING Renault F1 Team enjoyed a reasonably satisfying afternoon as Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet qualified in 9th and 13th places for tomorrow's Malaysian Grand Prix.

Held under the constant threat of rain, the qualifying battle of the midfield was intense once again, with Fernando and Nelson in the thick of the fight to reach Q3. Nelson narrowly missed the cut, while Fernando proceeded to the top ten shootout.

For the final part of qualifying the team concentrated on choosing the optimum strategy for the race and fuelled Fernando's car accordingly. The team remains optimistic for the race, and with showers predicted for tomorrow, the team will look to deliver another strong performance in the race.

Fernando Alonso: "We achieved our first objective today, which was to get into Q3. We can now concentrate on our second objective which is to improve our pace in the race and to finish in the points. I could have done better in Q3 this afternoon as I was with Heidfeld on a fast lap while the others were going slowly, and that affected me a bit, which is a shame. I am sure that the race tomorrow will be interesting and I hope we can find our way into the points, just like in Melbourne. We must now concentrate on our preparation for the race tomorrow."

Nelson Piquet: "I am relatively satisfied with my qualifying this afternoon. I made good progress in the last free practice session this morning and my qualifying went without too many problems. Of course I must still improve, but I am not too far away from my teammate and I cannot wait to see how the race goes tomorrow. My objective will be to do better than Melbourne and to reach the end of my second Grand Prix, and if possible to score some points."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "I think we can be reasonably satisfied with our performance today. With Fernando we got the car into Q3 and we could see that while the times were reasonably close, the margin needed to obtain a good grid position was probably beyond us. As a result we took a tactical decision to fuel quite long and so ninth place was pretty acceptable. Fernando has had a good weekend and worked well with his engineers to get this result. It's unfortunate for Nelson that he missed Q3 by a reasonably small margin, most of which can be accounted for by a couple of errors in Turns 2 and 4. He has had an excellent weekend and been constantly competitive. I'm sure that he is due a strong race here tomorrow."

Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations: "This year it is very competitive to reach Q3 and we were part of the big fight during Q2 this afternoon. We are happy to see Nelson make progress since his first Grand Prix in Melbourne. He has had a more structured weekend, which has allowed him to feel comfortable in the car and on the circuit. He did a good qualifying session and the gap with Fernando is less significant than in Melbourne, so it is a better result for the team. With Fernando, we reached Q3, which was our objective. The gaps between the first ten cars are quite significant and we believe that the strategies of the others will be different to Fernando."

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    Published: 22/03/2008
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