2008 Canadian Grand Prix, Saturday - 7 JUN 2008
It was a productive afternoon for the ING Renault F1 Team as Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet qualified in 4th and 15th places respectively for tomorrow's Canadian Grand Prix.
Having endured a difficult day on Friday, the team began the day on the back foot, suffering from a lack of mileage. But a positive free practice session this morning gave a more representative picture of the team's relative pace and the team was hopeful of a strong qualifying performance.
Both drivers made it through to Q2, where Nelson qualified in 15th, but Fernando progressed to Q3 and went on secure 4th place on the grid. Those positions leave the team confident of a competitive showing tomorrow and challenging for a points finish.
Fernando Alonso P4
"We have done very little running this weekend and there were still a lot of unknowns before qualifying. The car is still a bit sensitive and the track changes quickly here, and so I am very happy with my 4th place this afternoon - it's a good start to the weekend. The race is now totally open and that gives us the chance to score some big points tomorrow."
Nelson Piquet P15
"It was quite a difficult session and the car had the pace to go through to Q1, but unfortunately I was not able to go any further than Q2. I'm still struggling a bit with this track, which is new to me, and I haven't managed to get as much running as I would have liked. For the race tomorrow I will try and stay out of trouble, move forward and hopefully fight for some points."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering
"An exciting session was made even more exciting by trying to manage qualifying without all the tools on our pit wall, which failed at the beginning of qualifying. Nevertheless, what an excellent result for Fernando: he starts 4th on the grid with a very sensible fuel load, and I think that is our best performance of the year so far. Nelson made big strides this morning and in the first part of qualifying, but ultimately Q2 was as far as he could get."
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations
"After the disrupted free practice session this morning, we had not really had the chance to evaluate the ultimate performance of the car. Therefore Fernando's result this afternoon shows his ability to adapt to the car and the level of grip, and it was a superb performance. We know that the start here in Montreal is a critical moment and starting 4th certainly puts us in a good position for the race tomorrow. Nelson has suffered from a lack of running from the beginning of the weekend, much more than his teammate as he is racing in Montreal for the first time, and so he needs to prepare for a difficult race."