The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team experienced a dramatic race at today's German Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso finished third, his second podium in three races, while Jarno Trulli, delayed by changing his front wing at the second stop, finished the race...
The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team experienced a dramatic race at today's German Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso finished third, his second podium in three races, while Jarno Trulli, delayed by changing his front wing at the second stop, finished the race eleventh.
Fernando Alonso made "one of the best starts of my career" from fifth position on the grid, and exited the first corner second. He lost a position early in the race to Raikkonen, regained after the latter's accident, and then defended this placing until the final stint of the race.
The first three stints were notable for an intense battle with Jenson Button, who he fended off until lap 52. However, after his third stop the Spaniard experienced a serious problem at the front end of the car, and lost a significant amount of grip: he was unable to prevent Button from passing him, but fought off David Coulthard until lap 58 when he touched a kerb and the handling suddenly corrected itself.
From that point on, Fernando was again lapping at the same speed as the leaders. At this stage, the team believes that debris were lodged in the car, and between laps 52 and 58, the aerodynamic balance of his car was 8% different from the ideal.
As for Jarno Trulli, his car was the second Renault to collect debris today. Following a very competitive first stint, the Italian hit the debris from Raikkonen's accident, and part of the McLaren's rear wing was caught on the front end of the R24.
The team was unable to identify the exact cause of the problem while the car was on the circuit, and therefore changed the nose at the second pit-stop, costing him time and positions. Jarno then battled through the field to finish eleventh.
"I don't know what happened to the car during the final stint: at first, I thought it was problem with the front wing, then the suspension, but whatever the cause, the result was obvious: I just had no front grip at all. I radioed to the team that I was coming in to the pits, but they told me to stay out."
"Then, I ran over one of the kerbs and everything went back to normal: there must have been some debris lodged somewhere. Before those incidents, it had been a good race: I got one of the best starts of my career, and then I had a big battle with Jenson. We are both aggressive drivers, and we had fun I think - it was entertaining to have battle like that on the circuit. In the end, I think it was a good race for us."
"I had a strong race but just like with Fernando's car, I hit debris that caught on the car: unfortunately, it happened earlier in the race when other competitors were much closer. I lost front grip, the car was under-steering and would not turn in to the corners. Then, we changed the nose and front wing, and everything was OK again. It is a real shame, because I had demonstrated at the start of the race that my car was very quick today."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director:
"Fernando had to work hard for his podium finish today, and he deserves it: there is no doubt that his car's handling was seriously affected during part of the race, just like Jarno's earlier on. However, the whole team did a fantastic job: the engineers on the pit-wall, and the mechanics at the pit-stops. After the disappointment of Silverstone, they deserve this reward."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:
"It is fantastic to see Fernando on the podium for the second time in three races, but it is unlikely that many people will have realised how fantastic his drive today was. With Jenson following him during the final stint, something very bizarre happened to the car that seriously interfered with its handling: the result was that the aerodynamic balance was pushed backwards by 8%, a huge amount, and he had to contend with a large amount of understeer."
"It was not surprising to see Jenson pass him, and it turned out to be a bargeboard that had caught under the car. On lap 58, everything went back to normal when it became dislodged. It was not our day for collecting parts of other cars today, because Jarno also suffered when part of Raikkonen's rear wing lodged behind his rear wing. Today, we had a real attacking race and after so many incidents, it is a great result to score six points."