The ING Renault F1 Team made the most of an exciting Brazilian Grand Prix as Fernando Alonso finished in second place to end the team's season on a high. But the joy was tempered by the retirement of team-mate Nelson Piquet from his home race.
Rain showers hit the Interlagos circuit shortly before the start causing a ten minute delay to the race and forcing the whole field to start on wet weather tyres. While Fernando enjoyed some combative opening laps, Nelson's race was short-lived as he fell victim to the poor conditions, retiring on the opening lap.
As the track continued to dry, Fernando opted for an early switch to dry tyres on lap ten, rising to third as the rest of the leading pack followed suit. A second stop on lap 40 saw Fernando fuelled to the finish as he emerged in a solid second place when the final pit stops shook out. A late race rain shower made for an exciting climax as Fernando pitted for wet weather tyres to hang on to second place until the flag.
After the team's strong end to the season and a comfortable fourth place in the constructors' championship, the team now looks forward to the upcoming winter tests as preparations for 2009 continue.
Fernando Alonso: I am very happy with this second place. The conditions were difficult but we were able to take advantage of them. We did our maximum, the team made the right decisions at the right times, and I managed to keep Raikkonen behind me until the finish. It's a fantastic result for the team and a great way to end the season.
Nelson Piquet: I don't really know what happened: if I was touched or if I simply lost control of the car, but I couldn't see that much and I lost the rear of my car in turn 3. It's really frustrating not to complete my home Grand Prix because a lot of things happened in the race and we could probably have taken advantage of them. But we should not look back and I want to thank the team for their support this weekend.
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director ING Renault F1 Team: It's a super result and a great way to end the season so a big thanks for the whole team. Our second half of the year has been superb and in the last eight races Fernando has scored the most points of anyone. It was important to show to Renault that we could fight back and I'm proud of the efforts of the team this year. Congratulations also to Fernando and Nelson for the job they have done this season.
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: What a fantastic way to finish the season, not just for the team but for Formula 1. Our result today reinforces the fabulous job our staff have done over the year. We now really look forward Australia 2009. Congratulations to Ferrari and Lewis.