Australian GP: Renault Saturday qualifying notes

In sunny conditions at Melbourne's Albert Park circuit, Giancarlo Fisichella finished sixth while team-mate Heikki Kovalainen finished 13th as he got his first taste of the high-pressure knockout qualifying format. The team had expected a ...

In sunny conditions at Melbourne's Albert Park circuit, Giancarlo Fisichella finished sixth while team-mate Heikki Kovalainen finished 13th as he got his first taste of the high-pressure knockout qualifying format. The team had expected a challenging hour, as the first lap pace of the R27 during the weekend has failed to match the speed the car has demonstrated in race conditions.

This proved to be the case, with Giancarlo ultimately slowed by traffic on his fastest lap, while Heikki failed to get through the second part of the session. However, the encouraging race pace shown during the weekend means the team is hopeful of being in contention for a podium finish tomorrow afternoon.

Giancarlo Fisichella:

"As always, it was a tough qualifying session, but I feel we didn't achieve the maximum this afternoon. My position is pretty much as expected, behind McLaren and Ferrari, but I think I could have gained a place or two without traffic on my final timed lap, which slowed me down in the last three corners in particular."

"We had expected qualifying to be tough because we know the car's speed on a single lap is not as competitive as the long runs at the moment. Now, we need to wait and see what the race pace is like. We were competitive this morning and yesterday afternoon, so hopefully I can make up some ground at the start -- and then fight for the podium.

Heikki Kovalainen:

"The car was fine and the balance was good, but I just wasn't able to get the maximum from it on a single lap. I lost track time yesterday and this morning, and my times were a little bit off in every sector. Obviously, this performance is not good enough, but there is no point dwelling on it now. Starting from P13 is not ideal for my first Grand Prix, and I will need to race aggressively to get a points finish. That will be my target for tomorrow."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:

"Giancarlo's qualifying position more or less reflects our competitiveness over a single lap at this early stage of the season. Having said that, there is no doubt that he could have gone quicker had he not encountered traffic on his fastest lap. Although he was definitely impeded and it cost him time, it was certainly not deliberate."

"As for Heikki, he experienced the full fury of an F1 qualifying session for the first time. He lost track time yesterday and this morning with minor technical problems, and I am sure that without them, he would have achieved a much stronger result -- something we are confident he will do next time out in Malaysia. However, our focus now is on the race. We are certainly more confident in our race pace than we were before qualifying, and look forward to a much improved showing tomorrow afternoon.

Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations:

"We had our first insight into the relative, pure performance of the teams this afternoon and, much as expected, it confirmed our position as outsiders rather than favourites. We were pleased to see no repeat of the fuel pressure problems encountered yesterday, and our top speeds suggest that the RS27 V8 engine is performing well. We have prepared thoroughly for the race in spite of the problems encountered this weekend, and we hope to see our relative performance improve tomorrow afternoon."

Giancarlo Fisichella: 6th
Chassis: R27-02
Time: 1:27.634

Heikki Kovalainen: 13th
Chassis: R27-03
Time: 1:26.964

-credit: renault

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Heikki Kovalainen
Teams Ferrari , McLaren