Renault's Fernando Alonso looks back over the Canadian Grand Prix weekend "When we arrived in Canada, we didn't expect to be particularly competitive: we feel our car is stronger in high-downforce configuration, and you need exactly the opposite...
Renault's Fernando Alonso looks back over the Canadian Grand Prix weekend
"When we arrived in Canada, we didn't expect to be particularly competitive: we feel our car is stronger in high-downforce configuration, and you need exactly the opposite in Montreal. However, we are always very good on our brakes and that was a reason for optimism: this is one of the hardest circuits of the year for brakes."
"In the end, it was a disappointing result, there's no other way to describe it. We were quick enough to get on the podium, maybe even to win if things had gone perfectly in the race, and the team didn't score any points at all, which allowed BAR to catch us up a little bit in the championship. Williams were very strong as well, and it looks like the fight will be even closer now for the rest of the season."
"The weekend started well: as soon as we started running with high fuel on Friday, we could see that the R24 was very competitive. Friday is about choosing tyres, and we worked on that quite hard -- Jarno unfortunately had some problems, but I felt very comfortable with the car and was running very well. This is a circuit where I seem to go well, and by the end of the second practice session I was in second position. The circuit was still very dirty so the balance was not perfect, but the potential was definitely there."
"Saturday morning confirmed our form. We worked on the balance of the car, not running too early until the temperatures warmed up a bit -- it would have been easy to get caught out because we were running at eight o'clock in the morning, and the cooler conditions can really change how the car feels for the driver. I finished both sessions in second again, and we were very optimistic -- Jarno was ahead of me in second practice, and we were just getting quicker and quicker every time we ran on new tyres."
"By the time of qualifying, the temperatures had risen a lot more, and the car was handling differently. When I went out in the official qualifying session, I was unlucky to come behind Sato. He had spun at the final corner and knocked some ballast off his car when he hit the kerb. I hit it at the start of my lap, again at the end and when the R24 came back to the garage, we could see that it had a lot of damage to the floor. This might have explained why the car was understeering and felt so different from practice, and in the circumstances, fifth was pretty good."
"I felt comfortable on Sunday as the race approached. We knew that the cars ahead were on three stop strategies and that we would only make two, so it was a case of trying to make up places at the start and then keep up. I got past Montoya and then gained another place with Jarno's retirement and as Ralf (Schumacher) and Button peeled in to the pits, I took the lead and started pushing. The series of laps before the stop was very good but unfortunately, we had a problem at the stop when the fuel nozzle wouldn't engage. I lost about eight seconds, and found myself behind Ralf and the Ferraris when I should have been ahead."
"We added some front wing at that stop to cure a little bit of understeer, and I just had to push again to try and catch back up to the pack. The gap stayed stable for about ten laps, and then slowly I started reeling them in. The tyres were not performing so consistently at the start, but then they really came good again and I started setting some hot laps. My fastest lap came on lap 41, and I was the quickest car on the circuit at that time. Then, as I crossed the line to start lap 45, I felt all the power coming through just one wheel. I pulled off and inspected the car -- the left driveshaft had failed."
"Obviously it's disappointing, for me and the team, because we could have easily had a podium finish today -- even with the problem at the pit-stop -- and Jarno would have been at a similar pace. But I don't think we should be discouraged by the retirement. Our reliability has been very good so far this season, and that should resume in Indianapolis next weekend. Hopefully we can be competitive there -- it's not the best circuit for us, but the R23 was good there last year, and you need some of the same characteristics there that Montreal requires."
"Now, I'm off to Miami for the next few days -- it will be a bit of a break, and some PR work too. I'll be looking forward to seeing some sun and taking a rest after a very busy few weeks -- with three races and a three-day test in four weeks! By the end, though, I'll be wanting to get back in the car at Indy and trying for my next podium finish of the season."