Renault made the most of its opportunities at Hockenheim to stretch its lead over McLaren in the championship standings and aims to reinforce its position at this coming weekend's Hungarian race. Fernando Alonso took the win in Germany after ...
Renault made the most of its opportunities at Hockenheim to stretch its lead over McLaren in the championship standings and aims to reinforce its position at this coming weekend's Hungarian race. Fernando Alonso took the win in Germany after McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen retired with a hydraulic problem when leading, while Giancarlo Fisichella fought back from a difficult start to finish fourth.
Obviously Alonso benefited from Raikkonen's retirement but Renault engineering chief Pat Symonds pointed out that it wasn't simply a lucky break. "Racing is not just about having the quickest car," he said. "F1 is a team effort -- and victory is the result of lots of different factors, be it good drivers, a quick car, a powerful engine or perfect pit-stops…"
"Reliability is just one part of that equation and we have worked hard in this area since last season. It was a priority over the winter, and at the moment, we have a better balance between performance and reliability than McLaren."
The Hungaroring hasn't always provided the best of races for the spectators; it's a track where it's very hard to overtake. However, it's quite a popular venue with the drivers. "Our drivers both like the circuit," said Symonds. "Fernando took his first win there in 2003, and Giancarlo has had some good drives at this circuit."
"The circuit's characteristics should suit our car, but as we have said before, the gap between ourselves and McLaren is only small: we have to make sure the weekend runs smoothly, and that we find the right set-up, to achieve our potential."
Both Renault drivers will benefit from running late in qualifying, due to their results in Germany, but Hungary is often a very hot race so the tyres need to be carefully looked after during the race. "Tyres," is Fisichella's answer to what's needed for a successful result. "Lots of traction and high temperatures don't go well together!"
"We need to look after the rear tyres in particular, and find the balance between qualifying performance and race consistency. I am sure the car will be very quick there, and we have good qualifying positions. I am feeling optimistic."
Alonso, who now has a 36 point lead over Raikkonen in the drivers' standings, is looking forward to rejoining the fight. "The Hungaroring is one of my favourite tracks," he said. "With this year's car, we will have a good chance to fight for the podium and beat McLaren, but they have the fastest car. I think it will be a fun battle!"