The ING Renault F1 Team experienced a tough afternoon as Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet qualified in 10th and 14th places for tomorrow's Bahrain Grand Prix. As was the case for the first two races of the season, the team found itself battling...
The ING Renault F1 Team experienced a tough afternoon as Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet qualified in 10th and 14th places for tomorrow's Bahrain Grand Prix.
As was the case for the first two races of the season, the team found itself battling with Williams, Toyota and Honda to reach Q3, with the times being very close. In the end Fernando squeezed into the top ten for the third consecutive race, while Nelson missed out by a few tenths and will start the race from the seventh row of the grid.
For the final part of qualifying the team elected to run Fernando on the harder option Bridgestone tyres, but a mistake on his final run meant he had to abandon the lap and could not improve upon tenth position. The team will try to bring both drivers into contention tomorrow and aim for a third consecutive points finish of the season.
Fernando Alonso P10
"I am satisfied to have reached Q3 because I had some doubts that we would this morning. But we made several changes before qualifying and we felt they were an improvement after Q1, and that gave us the confidence to be more aggressive in Q2. Once we had qualified for Q3, we knew that it would be difficult to match the pace of the leading cars because we had already been pushing to the limit, so we took the decision to prepare for the race tomorrow. We will now see if we can get some points this weekend."
Nelson Piquet P14
"I am a bit disappointed because I had hoped to reach the final qualifying session today, even though I knew that it was going to be difficult. I did not do a perfect lap on my final run in Q2, but I hope that I will be able to reverse this tomorrow and that I can fight through the field. The race will be very competitive and we will have to fight hard, but I am determined to attack and to continue learning."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering
"As we expected, the journey to Q3 was a difficult one and Nelson missed out. However, this is a circuit where the times are very close and his weekend has been positive up to this point. With Fernando we got through to Q3 and elected to use two sets of the harder tyres for the final runs, but unfortunately a mistake on the final run meant that he abandoned the lap and he therefore starts in tenth place."
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations
"That was a difficult qualifying session, as we thought it would be. One of our drivers made it, while the other missed out, which is probably a result of his lack of experience. For Nelson, he will need to fight hard in the race, especially in the first corner where he will be surrounded by several other rookies. Fernando tried his best this afternoon with the package he had available. Once he had made it through to the Q3, we took the decision to concentrate on the race, which will be very competitive tomorrow, but we hope we will be able to adapt our strategy to any incidents in the race and make the most of any opportunities."