The ING Renault F1 Team concluded a successful qualifying session on a promising note ahead of the 2007 United States GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
After making steady improvements to the R27 throughout the weekend, both drivers made it through to the third part of qualifying for just the second time this season, in spite of the extremely close times on a circuit where the total lap-time is only just over 70 seconds.
Heikki Kovalainen continued a strong weekend by qualifying P6, his best grid position to date in Formula 1, while team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella will start from P10. Both drivers are optimistic of a strong race tomorrow, as the R27 has performed consistently and competitively over long runs on both types of Bridgestone Potenza tyre.
Heikki Kovalainen, 6th
"It was a good qualifying session for me, continuing a good weekend so far. The car balance felt OK, the set-up is good and I was comfortable on both types of tyre all the way through qualifying. We have improved the car throughout the weekend, and just had a normal weekend."
"I have always been confident that things would start going better for me, and I haven't made any mistakes or lost any track time here in Indy. When that happens, you can push to the limit and get the maximum from the car. That's what has made the difference compared to last weekend, and now we have to focus on the race. We will have a good strategy and the car is handling well. I'm feeling confident.
Giancarlo Fisichella, 10th
"It was important to be in the top ten today, and to confirm the progress we have made with the car. I had a clean lap at the end of the second round of qualifying, and the pace of the car was good. I was suffering from understeer on some parts of the track during the weekend, but we made some changes before qualifying and the balance was pretty good, the best I have had so far this weekend. I am looking forward to tomorrow's race, as the car has been consistent and quick all weekend.
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:
As usual at this circuit, the times were extremely close in qualifying -- although in the third session, we can see the field is split into two camps, separated by around half a second. We are reasonably satisfied with our performance today, the cars are running well, and both types of tyre look good. I am sure we can have a strong race.
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations:
"We made the most of our package today, and that is reflected by having both cars in the top ten for the second time this year. The car is performing well, as our positions in the second round of qualifying reflected, and both drivers got the maximum from the package all the way through the day."
"There are two distinct groups in the top ten, and while it will be difficult to fight with the cars in front, we seem to be the quickest team among those behind. From the engine side, we enjoyed a trouble-free day, and the cars are competitive in terms of straightline speed, which will give both drivers a good, raceable package. The most important thing tomorrow will be to once again get the most from the car, and score some important points for the championship.