Chinese GP: Renault Saturday qualifying notes

Fernando sixth and Jacques thirteenth, although the Canadian will start twelfth following Sato's ten-place demotion. The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team is in good shape following qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix. In spite of a difficult...

Fernando sixth and Jacques thirteenth, although the Canadian will start twelfth following Sato's ten-place demotion.

The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team is in good shape following qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix. In spite of a difficult weekend, much of which was dedicated to disciplined race preparation, the team placed Fernando Alonso in sixth position on the grid after the Spaniard completed a faultless lap in qualifying.

Jacques Villeneuve's thirteenth position did not reflect his full competitiveness. While he was several tenths down on team-mate Alonso, the closeness of the grid meant this gap represented seven positions - although the Canadian will gain one place following the demotion of Sato's BAR after an engine change yesterday. Looking ahead to the race, the team remains very optimistic: the R24 is expected to prove more competitive over the full race distance.

Fernando Alonso:

"I had quite a difficult day because when we began running this morning, the car's handling was very different to yesterday and much more nervous. We had to work on solving these problems, and that meant we did not really reach the car's full potential in qualifying."

"From my point of view, I did not make any mistakes on the lap - I was pushing right to the limit and it was definitely my best lap of the weekend in terms of getting everything right. I am much more confident for the race than I was before qualifying though: we have a good chance for tomorrow."

Jacques Villeneuve:

"I am slightly disappointed with my position - although the gap to Fernando is not so big, I was really in the wrong part of the grid and the small time difference translated into a lot of positions between us. I wasn't completely happy with the lap in qualifying, and definitely lost several tenths in turn 13 before the main straight. But we know the car is better on used tyres - which means we will be stronger in the race than we were today."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:

"There have been times this weekend when we have been further from the top of the timesheets than normal but I think our disciplined preparatory work has paid off. Fernando's grid position promises a strong race and we should also congratulate Jacques on a good performance. Single-lap qualifying is a difficult thing to get right when you have had limited time in the car, but his performance was good and we hope that tomorrow, his long distance pace will be even more competitive."

Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager:

"It has been difficult throughout the weekend to get a firm idea of the relative performance of the different teams, and qualifying hasn't made things much easier. Several strategies are possible here and according to who has made what choice, the significance of the grid positions we see today could prove very different come the race. We believe we have done enough mileage this weekend to run a strong race tomorrow and fight against BAR. Let's see how things unfold tomorrow."

Fernando Alonso
Chassis: R24-07
1:34.425, 6th

Jacques Villeneuve
Chassis: R24-08
1:35.384, 13th

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve , Fernando Alonso
Teams Renault F1 Team