The ING Renault F1 Team experienced a busy qualifying session this afternoon in Monaco, emerging from the one hour knock-out with mixed results. Giancarlo Fisichella put his R27 in fourth place on the grid for tomorrow's race, confirming the...
The ING Renault F1 Team experienced a busy qualifying session this afternoon in Monaco, emerging from the one hour knock-out with mixed results. Giancarlo Fisichella put his R27 in fourth place on the grid for tomorrow's race, confirming the recent improvements the team has made to the car.
Heikki Kovalainen was fighting for a spot in the top ten during the second qualifying session when he was baulked for almost an entire lap by the Red Bull of David Coulthard. This cost the Finn the opportunity of setting a competitive time, and left him in fourteenth position, severely compromising his chances of a strong finish tomorrow on a circuit where grid position is of paramount importance.
Nevertheless, both drivers will be aiming to drive a mistake-free race on the demanding street circuit, and hoping to capitalise on the improved performance of the R27 to put in strong performances.
Giancarlo Fisichella, 4th
"This was a very good day for us, and I am proud of the job we have done not only this weekend, but also during the last weeks at the factory. The team has been working night and day to improve the performance of the R27, and this is another concrete sign that we are getting there. The car wasn't perfect at the start of qualifying, but we made some small changes to the balance, and it was handling really well during the final part."
"Starting fourth is very promising for tomorrow's race, but I think today also shows that we will be stronger at the next races too. Monaco is an unusual circuit, and we are not getting too excited, but we are definitely moving in the right direction.
Heikki Kovalainen, 14th
"It was a very frustrating qualifying session for me. My laps in the first part were not great, but I was getting more and more confident with the car, and on my final run I thought I could have made it into the top ten. I came round the first corner on my flying lap and saw Coulthard's Red Bull coming out of the pits, and thought he would move over after Casino -- or into the Tunnel at the latest."
"But he just stayed there all the way round, and ruined the lap; to say the least, I was very surprised to see that from the most experienced driver in the field. It was a session to forget, so now I need to focus on tomorrow. From P14 it will be a very tough race, but I am determined to attack as much as possible, and try to make up positions."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:
"This was a fantastic result for Giancarlo and the team. After our recent difficulties, a second row position feels like pole position, although we know there is still a lot of work ahead of us. The unique nature of the circuit certainly helped us, but the car is also improving rapidly -- and Giancarlo was able to make full use of it."
"My sympathy goes to Heikki after a very frustrating session. It is a shame that the oldest driver in the field, and the one who is most voluble about problems with traffic, was unable to adhere to his own principles. Clearly, our two drivers will have very different targets for tomorrow, but they will both be racing hard, and looking to make the most of the recent improvements to the car."
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations:
"It has been a busy and eventful day. This morning's wet session gave the engine team the opportunity to check the V8 was responding well to the extreme challenges this circuit presents, and we made the most of it. The weather was threatening throughout qualifying, and this added another unpredictable factor to what is always a very tense session in Monaco."
"Our level of performance was encouraging, and showed that our development is taking us in the right direction. From the second row Giancarlo can certainly race strongly, while Heikki will look to make up as many positions as possible after being relegated to the seventh row through no fault of his own this afternoon.