Although the overall result of the Chinese Grand Prix failed to meet the expectations of the Mild Seven Renault F1 Team, it was nonetheless marked by excellent individual performances. Starting from sixth position on the grid, Fernando Alonso...
Although the overall result of the Chinese Grand Prix failed to meet the expectations of the Mild Seven Renault F1 Team, it was nonetheless marked by excellent individual performances. Starting from sixth position on the grid, Fernando Alonso drove a faultless two-stop race, setting his fastest time on the penultimate lap on his way to a well-deserved fourth position.
As for Jacques Villeneuve, he continued his learning curve during the 56 laps of the Shanghai circuit. After a good start, he found it difficult to set a good pace at the start of the race but his speed improved as the race went on, and he drove aggressively and competitively all the way to the chequered flag. He set his fastest lap on the final lap, and finished 11th.
Fernando Alonso, 4th position:
"It was a pretty good race. We started the weekend with quite a lot of problems, we improved the car throughout the weekend and it got better during the race. I think these five points will be important for the championship at the end of the year. The next two circuits should favour us more than the last ones have and I am feeling good. My motivation his high and I am focused on scoring the points we need to get back second place in the championship."
Jacques Villeneuve, 11th position:
"I learned a lot during the race this afternoon: I know the R24 better, I have got a full race distance under my belt and I have also understood what a 2004-style race is like. To be honest, I just needed too long to get into the rhythm at the start of the race. I made a good start but I hadn't warmed the tyres enough and lost a lot of the positions I had made up."
"As soon as the circuit rubbered in more and the grip improved, I was able to attack but unfortunately, I couldn't stay close enough behind Webber in turns 9 and 10 - which meant that I was too far behind to try and overtake when we got to the braking zone for the hairpin at turn 14. Even so, I feel ready for Suzuka now."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director:
"Our race was easy to analyse: we weren't quick enough today. We are disappointed but we still got two cars to the finish and one at the foot of the podium. The team worked well during a difficult weekend and the drivers did a great job: Fernando pushed until the very end of the race, and Jacques succeeded with a difficult challenge. We have said that the championship fight with BAR will go down to the wire and that will certainly be the case. Our aim, more than ever, is to reclaim second in the championship."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:
"It was a disappointing race today and we were not quick enough. Both drivers did everything they could and their races were near perfect. Jacques had settled in by the end of the race and I am sure he can pose a threat to our competitors in Suzuka. As for Fernando, he drove strongly and didn't put a foot wrong. This circuit didn't really suit the R24 this weekend and we do not exactly understand why. However, we did some good damage limitation by scoring five points and we hope to be more competitive in Suzuka."