Japanese GP: Michelin Saturday qualifying notes

ALONSO HEADS MICHELIN ASSAULT AT SUZUKA Fernando Alonso (Renault) was the fastest Michelin runner during a challenging qualifying session ahead of tomorrow& ...

ALONSO HEADS MICHELIN ASSAULT AT SUZUKA

Fernando Alonso (Renault) was the fastest Michelin runner during a challenging qualifying session ahead of tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. In dry, blustery conditions, the Spaniard posted a 1m 30.371s lap to secure fifth place on the grid. His team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella will join him on row three.

Three other Michelin drivers will start in the top 10. Honda team-mates Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello were seventh and eighth while Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber) was ninth.

Michelin’s day
Nick Shorrock, Michelin F1 director:

“Clearly this hasn’t been our best qualifying performance of the year – far from it. We went to Silverstone to develop tyres for this race, because its characteristics are traditionally very similar to those at Suzuka. The excellent speed we showed during testing simply hasn’t translated into strong qualifying pace here, however. Track conditions have changed since this morning’s final free practice, but it hasn’t really rubbered in as much as would have liked."

“Our partners will be using a mixture of prime and option tyres tomorrow and we expect to be consistent in race trim. Today might have been frustrating, but we’ll be transferring all our efforts into getting as much as we can from the grand prix.”

Pat Symonds, executive engineering director, Renault F1 Team:

“The qualifying positions indicate that today’s higher temperatures did not completely suit our tyre. Qualifying is just a means to an end, though, and we remain very hopeful of a strong race result.”

-credit: michelin

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Nick Heidfeld , Fernando Alonso
Teams Sauber , Renault F1 Team