The Renault F1 Team locked out the second row during qualifying for this afternoon's Turkish Grand Prix, with world champion Fernando Alonso lining up third -- just ahead of team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella. After suffering problems with tyre ...
The Renault F1 Team locked out the second row during qualifying for this afternoon's Turkish Grand Prix, with world champion Fernando Alonso lining up third -- just ahead of team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella.
After suffering problems with tyre graining yesterday, the team switched overnight to the other available specification of Michelin tyre. Diligent work by the drivers and their engineers during this morning's practice session saw them find a good balance for the R26, and the car's intrinsic performance was demonstrated during the qualifying rounds when both drivers were consistently among the front runners.
Weather conditions today proved slightly cooler than expected, with scattered cloud keeping the track temperature slightly lower than forecast. This is expected to disappear tomorrow, meaning the drivers will be in for a long, demanding afternoon -- and where the team hopes that the consistent performance of the Michelin tyres will pay dividends.
Fernando Alonso, 3rd position:
"Third position was a good result for me today. We knew that we would not have enough to beat the Ferrari package over one timed lap, but we do believe in the consistency of the Michelin tyres and what they can bring us in the race. Our preparations have been focused on the race since yesterday morning, so it is a good result for us to be high up in qualifying."
"I think it will be an exciting start to the race and that we will see a group of cars running together in the opening laps. But we also know that the most important thing tomorrow will be to finish, to bring home points in both championships.
Giancarlo Fisichella, 4th position:
"We knew all weekend that Ferrari would be quick, and that it would be a tough battle to get on to the front row, but we are in the next best position. The car felt much better today on the other type of Michelin tyre, it was easy to drive and the performance was consistent on longer runs. We know that it will be a tough race tomorrow, but we will be fighting all the way."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:
"Things went pretty much to plan for us. We chose to switch to the other specification of tyre after our problems yesterday, and that has undoubtedly been confirmed as the correct decision. Making that change gave the car a good, driveable balance that we managed to fine tune during practice this morning, while our running on older tyres confirmed that the tyres will be consistent in tomorrow's race."
"Ferrari have been very quick all weekend, and certainly were in qualifying as well. I think they seem to have an advantage on the first lap, but we have seen the balance of power switch overnight already this season. Starting from the second row, we are in the right position to race them hard for the win."
Denis Chevrier, Head of Trackside Engine Operations:
"I think we can consider this to be a strong team performance, with ourselves and Ferrari standing out as the two teams who have managed to get their drivers performing equally at the front of the grid. We are clearly the challengers for tomorrow's race, but starting from the second row means we will be in a straight fight with the Ferraris from the opening laps."
"Both engines appeared to perform normally throughout qualifying. Giancarlo felt his unit might have been a little down on power, but we could not see anything on the telemetry during the session. Of course, we will be looking at the data closely this evening to make sure. Now, we need to wait and see how the different race strategies unfold..."