The Renault F1 Team drivers qualified third and fifth for tomorrow's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, with Giancarlo Fisichella ahead of team-mate Fernando Alonso. However, the Italian will pay the penalty for a precautionary engine change...
The Renault F1 Team drivers qualified third and fifth for tomorrow's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, with Giancarlo Fisichella ahead of team-mate Fernando Alonso. However, the Italian will pay the penalty for a precautionary engine change prior to qualifying owing to a valve problem, and lose ten places on the grid; he therefore starts thirteenth. Fernando benefits from this to move up to the second row, lining up directly behind his championship rival Kimi Raikkonen.
"Obviously, I am disappointed about the engine change I had this morning, because this was a good qualifying for me. I had a nice lap, and the balance of the car was better than this morning. From what we have seen this weekend, we seem to be quite strong, and maybe closer to McLaren than we expected on Friday."
"Obviously, I will be starting from the midfield, but with the speed of the R25 here, I think I will be aiming for the podium again: it felt good last weekend, so I want to repeat it!"
"I am pretty pleased with the position. At least we managed some running today, so we could enjoy driving here at Spa and start working on the technical programme. We made some changes before qualifying to improve the balance, and that worked well. It was a clean lap, so now I am in a good position for tomorrow."
"Things seem closer between us and McLaren than they have been in the last few races, and although it will be very difficult to beat them, maybe it's not impossible. We need to concentrate on the race now, and do a perfect preparation to be able to fight at the front and keep the pressure on."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:
"It is a real shame for Giancarlo that after such a wonderful qualifying lap, he must lose ten spots, but those are the rules we play by and we accept them. Fernando's lap was equally strong, but now we need to see what differences there are in the race strategies up and down the pit-lane, while also keeping an eye on the ever-unpredictable Ardennes weather."
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Operations:
"With so little running this weekend, it has been difficult to get a clear idea of our speed relative to the competition, and the technical choices we have made are inevitably estimations as much as decisions based on accumulated evidence. On the sporting side, we obviously regret that we had to take the precaution of changing Giancarlo's engine, which leaves us with a sole representative at the front of the grid."
"However, there appears to be every hope of having a strong race tomorrow: the gap to our competitors is small, and we will be aiming to score plenty of points with Fernando. Obviously, Giancarlo won't be fighting at the front in the early stages of the race, but we have given both drivers the car they need to fight from the first lap to the last -- which should help Giancarlo in the battle to work his way through the pack.