The ING Renault F1 Team enjoyed its best qualifying performance of the year this afternoon as Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet qualified in 2nd and 10th places for tomorrow's Spanish Grand Prix.
Weather conditions were ideal as the Circuit de Catalunya witnessed another fiercely competitive session. Both Renault driver carried their good form into qualifying and progressed comfortably into the top ten shootout.
In the final part of qualifying Fernando and Nelson continued to demonstrate the progress the team has made in recent weeks, with Fernando securing a front row starting slot in the final moments of the session. The team now turns its attention to tomorrow and will look to carry the momentum into the race.
Fernando Alonso P2
"Today's result made me very happy. The best day for me of the 2008 season and I hope there are many more like this to come. The team has been doing a tremendous job since Bahrain. We have had a difficult and disappointing start to the season, and today is the first step ahead. We have an aggressive approach for the races to come in order to return to the level we should be at. It is not the time to relax, and instead we are even more motivated to work hard to get where we need to be."
Nelson Piquet P10
"We have worked well with the car this weekend and after a great Q2 I am happy to reach Q3 for the first time. Nevertheless, I have the feeling that we could have done better. The gaps between the cars are very small, which means that we can expect a very competitive race on a circuit where it is difficult to overtake. But I am determined to have a great race tomorrow and to attack to the maximum."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering
"A great result today, which vindicates all the hard work that has gone on back at base in the first few months of the year. It's great to see both cars in the top ten and Fernando's position at his home circuit is particularly welcome. But let's not forget the great job that Nelson has done - he's been with Fernando all the way through the weekend and makes it a great team result."
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations
"We now have a better idea of our performance relative to the other teams and the result is one that the team can be satisfied with. We knew as early as the start of the session that Fernando was in a position to get the most from his car and we worked hard to give him a car that would match his talent. There is still a lot we need to do to progress, but this is already a first step and that is encouraging. As for Nelson he had a super qualifying session, and was very solid in Q2. It remains to be seen what will happen tomorrow in the race, but the gaps between the teams are very small and so we need to seize our opportunities to try and score some points."