Another strong Renault performance by Alonso

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The ING Renault F1 Team carried its strong practice form into today’s qualifying session as Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet qualified in 3rd and 10th places respectively for tomorrow’s French Grand Prix in Magny-Cours.

The team has been competitive all weekend with both Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet topping the timesheets in the practice sessions leading up to qualifying. Both drivers made it comfortably through to Q2 in what proved to be one of the most competitive qualifying sessions of the year.

Nelson just missed out on progressing to Q3, setting the 11th best time, although he will start tomorrow’s race from 10th due to a 10 place grid penalty for Lewis Hamilton (handed out because of his crash into Kimi Raikkonen at the Canadian pitlane 2 weeks before). Fernando progressed to Q3 and went on to set the 4th best time, but like Nelson he moves up a position and will start the race from 3rd. The team is therefore well placed to deliver a strong performance tomorrow afternoon in the team’s home race.

Fernando Alonso P4 (P3 on the grid)

“The times were very tight today, in both Q1 and Q2, but I made it through to Q3 and was able to set a good time. The car has really improved and so for the first time this season we have the real chance to fight for the podium. The Ferraris are certainly a step ahead, but we will give our maximum to get a good result tomorrow.”

Nelson Piquet P11 (P10 on the grid)

“It’s frustrating to miss out on Q3, but we didn’t anticipate the behaviour of the soft tyres which turned out be slower than we thought. But at least we have the chance to adopt the ideal strategy for the race tomorrow and I hope we can benefit from that because it is particularly difficult to overtake here. The times were very close today, but the car behaved well and I think we can be on the pace in normal race conditions, and I will do my best to try and score my first points tomorrow.”

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering

“A good qualifying session after our strong form in practice earlier in the weekend. Obviously we are thrilled with Fernando’s second row starting position and I believe he has a real chance of fighting for the podium tomorrow. And let’s not forget Nelson’s performance: he was just 0.05s away from making Q3. It’s a great effort from him as well.”

Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations

“We had a good qualifying session today and our result confirms what we were hoping to see. The times in the session were very tight, but we thought we could aim for the top 5 and so with Fernando’s performance we can hope for a great race tomorrow. Nelson had a few difficulties with his tyres and so will start the race from 10th on the grid with an adaptable strategy which gives him a real chance of scoring some points.”

Source: Renault F1