Difficult Belgian race for Renault
Although Heikki Kovalainen drove a strong race and made up one position relative to his starting slot, the team was left with the feeling of a missed opportunity. The Finn's one-stop strategy meant he was running heavier fuel loads than his rivals for much of the race, and he was unable to take the fight to the cars ahead of him, instead spending much of the race aggressively defending his position, notably against Kubica in the final ten laps.
Nevertheless, the Finn maintained his points-scoring streak with his eighth-place finish, extending it to six consecutive races. Following an enforced engine change after qualifying, owing to an oil leak from a component within the sealed perimeter, Giancarlo Fisichella actually started the race from the pit-lane in the T-car. However, he ran off track at turn five on lap one, and was forced to retire with a broken front-left pushrod.
Heikki Kovalainen, 8th position
"It felt like I drove half of the race with my mirrors today – and when I had a clear track, the car was too heavy to be able to do the lap-times we needed to make our strategy work. To be honest, with a different strategy, I think we could have achieved a better result today because the car was definitely more competitive than it looked. After doing the long runs on Friday, we thought our pace was enough to make the one-stop strategy work, but it just didn't work out today. But that's life – sometimes, you calculate that the risk is worth taking, and it doesn't pay off. I had a fantastic start, but after that, I was just defending all the way through. There was a lot of wheel-to-wheel action but personally, I think that kind of thing is more fun when you are attacking! The positive thing to take from the weekend is that the basic speed of the car was actually closer to the top cars than we showed today. That is a good reason to be optimistic for the last three races of the season."
Giancarlo Fisichella, retired
"There is not much to say after such a short race. We started from the pit-lane, so we could use the car with a lower downforce set-up to try and make up positions. But when I came to turn five, I braked and the car just didn't slow down. It went straight on, I touched the barrier and broke the front-left suspension. I managed to get back to the pits, but there was nothing we could do to continue."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director "This was a disappointing afternoon for the team, but we can still take some good things from the weekend. Heikki showed again that he can race with the top drivers, and continued his points-scoring streak. And the performance of the car in qualifying showed we can be optimistic for the end of the season. Now, we need to make sure we get everything possible from those last races, and don't let any opportunities slip."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering "We decided to start Giancarlo from the pit-lane in the T-car, following the engine problem after qualifying. We did so because, as always, the spare car was better optimised for racing from the back of the field, with a lower-downforce set-up. Unfortunately, the brakes were cold after sitting at the end of the pit-lane, and as he tried to slow for turn 5, he ran off track and broke the suspension. As for Heikki, I think we gave him a hard job to do today. We took the deliberate decision to go for a different strategy to our rivals, running one stop instead of two, and at first sight it appears we didn't take the right option. Nevertheless, he drove a determined, tenacious race, and his defence against Kubica in the faster BMW was exemplary."