The ING Renault Formula One Team made the most of an eventful Turkish Grand Prix as Fernando Alonso brought his R28 home in a well-earned 6th place, while teammate Nelson Piquet ended the afternoon in 15th.
A mixed qualifying session yesterday saw Fernando and Nelson start the race from 7th and 17th places respectively, with the team targeting a points finish in the race. An eventful opening lap saw both Renault drivers in the thick of the action with Fernando making up two positions, while Nelson was forced to take avoiding action in the first corner melee, dropping to the back of the field.
As the race developed Fernando ran competitively in the top six for the whole afternoon to secure the team three valuable points. Nelson faced an uphill battle to recover from the back of the pack, but raced hard to finish in 15th place.
Having confirmed the progress made in recent weeks, the team will look to carry its good form into the Monaco Grand Prix in two weeks time.
Fernando Alonso, P6: “We were on the pace this weekend and scored some valuable points today, which confirms the progress we have made recently and is thanks to the hard work of everyone in the team. I made a good start, which was essential for a strong race and after that everything went smoothly. We had a good strategy, the car was well balanced and there were no problems with the tyres, so I am happy. Now we must continue working hard to catch up with the leading teams, but we are in good shape.”
Nelson Piquet, P15: “I am satisfied with my performance today. My race started badly as I had to avoid the accident at the start which held me up. After that we just stuck to our strategy and tried to make up ground. The most important thing is that I finished the race and I have gained some more experience. I would have liked to finish further up, but I think that my weekend was determined during the qualifying session yesterday. I will make the most of what I have learned this weekend and put it to use at the next Grand Prix in Monaco, which will be an exciting race.”
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: “It’s nice to see some encouraging signs of improvement. Fernando made a fantastic start and had a great race to get us some important points. It was difficult for Nelson starting from so far back, but he managed to drive a consistent race and kept pace with the midfield pack. We are confident that we are starting a new phase which will see us get closer and closer to the top three teams.”
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: “I think we made the most of our chances today. Fernando’s race was essentially with Webber, but it was gratifying to see that we were closer to the BMWs once again, although there is still a gap that we need to close. Nelson’s race was always going to be difficult and there was little we could do for him strategically, but it was a spirited drive, especially his defence against Heikki.”