French GP: Renault Saturday qualifying notes

The ING Renault F1 Team scored its best qualifying result of the 2007 season so far this afternoon at Magny-Cours. In warm, sunny conditions, the team scored an all-Renault third row, with Giancarlo Fisichella ahead of team-mate Heikki...

The ING Renault F1 Team scored its best qualifying result of the 2007 season so far this afternoon at Magny-Cours.

In warm, sunny conditions, the team scored an all-Renault third row, with Giancarlo Fisichella ahead of team-mate Heikki Kovalainen. The result confirmed the team's confidence following yesterday's practice sessions, and the tightly-matched performances of the two drivers were an additional source of satisfaction. With the team's direct championship rivals BMW sandwiching the two R27s, tomorrow's race promises to be an intense, direct battle between the two teams.

Giancarlo Fisichella, 5th

"This result shows we have made more good progress with the new parts we brought here for the car. My feeling is better now, and there is more grip; the result is that the gap to the leading teams has shrunk a little bit more. It is very motivating to be driving with the team at the moment, and seeing the progress we are making at every race thanks to the hard work at the factory and at the track. We know there is the potential for more too, so everybody is feeling confident."

"In terms of qualifying, I was struggling with understeer this morning in practice, and even through the first part of qualifying. But my engineers did a great job to find some adjustments, and the car got better. My final timed lap was very clean, and fifth is a good starting position because we have a good strategy. I'm looking forward to the race."

Heikki Kovalainen, 6th

"This has been a good recovery from yesterday, when I was struggling a bit with the car. The handling was good all day, and the times were competitive. I had a power steering problem in qualifying though, and that cost me time, especially in Q3. The car was pulling quite hard to the left, so it was very difficult braking and turning in."

"So for sure there was more time to come, but even so, the third row is a good starting position for me, equal to my best at the last race in Indy, and our performance shows we are going in the right direction. But it's a good starting point, now let's see what the race brings."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:

"Once again, our qualifying result reflects the steady progress that the team is making. There is still some way to the front of the field, but at the moment, it's all positive news for us. Giancarlo had a generally good session, although some brake locking disturbed his runs."

"Unfortunately, Heikki had to contend with a more severe power steering problem, which certainly cost him some time. In spite of all that, though, this was our best qualifying result of the season and I am sure our strategies are sensible. We are hoping for a dry race tomorrow, and a straight fight out on track."

Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations:

"Our best qualifying result of the season, in the right place. Not particularly because this is our home Grand Prix, but because it's race number eight, and the steady improvement in performance follows on logically from race seven in Indianapolis, where we also got both cars into the top ten in qualifying."

"We are clearly still a step behind the top two teams, but the car is now quick enough to fight for the leading positions behind them -- and small strategic details can make a big difference. The R27 has been easy to drive throughout the weekend, and the drivers' performances very equal. The top speeds are good, and both engines are performing well. It's a promising starting point for the tomorrow's race."

Giancarlo Fisichella
Chassis: R27-05
1:15.674, 5th

Heikki Kovalainen
Chassis: R27-03
1:15.826, 6th

-credit: renault

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Heikki Kovalainen
Teams Renault F1 Team