ALONSO HEADS MICHELIN ASSAULT AT SUZUKA Fernando Alonso (Renault) was the fastest Michelin runner during a challenging qualifying session ahead of tomorrow& ...
ALONSO HEADS MICHELIN ASSAULT AT SUZUKA
Fernando Alonso (Renault) was the fastest Michelin runner during a challenging qualifying session ahead of tomorrows Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. In dry, blustery conditions, the Spaniard posted a 1m 30.371s lap to secure fifth place on the grid. His team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella will join him on row three.
Three other Michelin drivers will start in the top 10. Honda team-mates Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello were seventh and eighth while Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber) was ninth.
Nick Shorrock, Michelin F1 director:
Clearly this hasnt been our best qualifying performance of the year far from it. We went to Silverstone to develop tyres for this race, because its characteristics are traditionally very similar to those at Suzuka. The excellent speed we showed during testing simply hasnt translated into strong qualifying pace here, however. Track conditions have changed since this mornings final free practice, but it hasnt really rubbered in as much as would have liked."
Our partners will be using a mixture of prime and option tyres tomorrow and we expect to be consistent in race trim. Today might have been frustrating, but well be transferring all our efforts into getting as much as we can from the grand prix.
Pat Symonds, executive engineering director, Renault F1 Team:
The qualifying positions indicate that todays higher temperatures did not completely suit our tyre. Qualifying is just a means to an end, though, and we remain very hopeful of a strong race result.