French GP: Renault Saturday qualifying notes

Fernando on pole and Fisico seventh - but sixth on the grid. The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team took pole position for its home race in Magny-Cours, for the second successive year, during qualifying for tomorrow's French Grand Prix. A mistake-free...

Fernando on pole and Fisico seventh - but sixth on the grid.

The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team took pole position for its home race in Magny-Cours, for the second successive year, during qualifying for tomorrow's French Grand Prix. A mistake-free lap saw World Championship leader Fernando Alonso take his sixth career pole position, giving him the best possible starting point for extending his championship lead in tomorrow's race.

Team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella was on equal terms with the Spaniard until the final sector, where a small mistake cost him three tenths of a second. However, on a grid as tightly packed as that at Magny-Cours, where a mere tenth of a second can cost a number of positions, he finished seventh. However, he will start sixth for tomorrow's race after Raikkonen has served his ten place penalty for an engine change on Friday.

Fernando Alonso, Pole position:

"I am delighted to be on pole, for the second time at this circuit, which I love. Even more, I am very pleased do it here in France for the team and all our supporters. The car has felt really good all weekend, after our work in testing last week in Jerez, and the balance was very stable on my lap, so I could attack all the way without any mistakes."

"Looking to tomorrow, I know that we have a good chance to improve the situation in the championship as Kimi will be starting quite far back, so I will be trying to score as many points as possible -- but I also expect Ferrari, Toyota and McLaren to be very fast. This weekend, there are 6,000 people here from all over Renault, so it will be an important race. I hope we can deliver a good performance!"

Giancarlo Fisichella, 7th position:

"Obviously, I am a little bit disappointed with my position. The first and second sectors were quite good for me, but then I lost three or four tenths in the last corners, which put me further down the grid. Even so, I know we have a very strong car for the race tomorrow, so I am still feeling confident."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:

"The grid this afternoon is very close, much as we had expected -- and we saw with Giancarlo how a small mistake can prove costly on a single timed lap. We have both cars in the top six for tomorrow, and they were well balanced on the qualifying laps."

"We expect temperatures tomorrow to be much higher, but the cars are looking after their tyres well, and we do not anticipate this will be a factor during the race. All in all, this gives us a very satisfying starting point for the race."

Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Operations:

"It is traditional for the qualifying session at Magny-Cours to prove particularly close-fought, and this was the case once again this afternoon. With this in mind, it is pleasing to be on the front row without having sacrificed any part of our race strategy in favour of qualifying performance."

"We completed our normal set-up and tuning work this morning in spite of the poor conditions, and results are visible in the performance this afternoon. We know that the car has very strong potential for the race, and with one driver ideally placed, and the other a threatening challenger on the third row, we are optimistic for the Grand Prix."

Fernando Alonso
1st, 1:14.412
Giancarlo Fisichella
7th, 1:14.887

-renault-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Fernando Alonso
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Renault F1 Team