Japanese GP: Renault Saturday qualifying notes

The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team was left empty-handed and disappointed after this afternoon's second qualifying session for the Japanese Grand Prix. The R23B's have been fast since the start of the weekend, but were unable to demonstrate their full...

The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team was left empty-handed and disappointed after this afternoon's second qualifying session for the Japanese Grand Prix. The R23B's have been fast since the start of the weekend, but were unable to demonstrate their full potential during qualifying owing to rain which fell at Suzuka.

Fernando Alonso was the fifteenth driver to go out in qualifying, and had to contend with light rain which began on his warm-up lap. In spite of changeable grip levels, though, he was able to claim fifth place. After setting the fastest time yesterday, Jarno Trulli started last this afternoon, by which time the circuit was fully wet. With the conditions costing him a significant amount of time, the team decided to call him into the pits in order to save fuel for the race.

Fernando Alonso, 5th, 1:33.044

"I was a little bit unfortunate today. It started raining just as I went out, and even though the rain wasn't particularly heavy, it cost me a few tenths. I was pushing just as hard as in dry conditions, but the time wasn't there at the end of the lap: there wasn't as much grip, especially under acceleration. Even so, the car is well balanced and I am in a good position for tomorrow."

Jarno Trulli, no time

"What can you say about that? Every race, I am fighting for my first pole position, and this weekend I was on course to get it. We worked hard this morning, and I was very competitive, even if the times didn't necessarily make it look that way. Then, the rain came and destroyed my chances. Tomorrow's race will be tough, all the more so because it is very difficult to overtake here."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering

"After such a promising start to the weekend, today's qualifying result is bitterly disappointing. However, in spite of a lap affected by the onset of rain, Fernando's fifth place, while not reflecting the full potential of the car, still gives us a real chance for tomorrow. What can I say for Jarno? He must be the unluckiest man in Formula 1: in the space of twenty-four hours, he has gone from being the fastest man out there to last on the grid, through no fault of his own. We decided it was not even worth doing the timed lap, and called him in to save fuel for the race."

Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager

"Fernando's fifth place is an encouraging position from which to start tomorrow, and at least shows that the rain did not completely ruin our afternoon. However, given the times set by the people on the front row, we can only regret that circumstances prevented Jarno from doing a timed lap: he had the potential to take pole. Fate denied him a real opportunity to shine this afternoon."

-renault-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jarno Trulli , Fernando Alonso
Teams Renault F1 Team