Renault looked like it could have been heading for a front row lockout during qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix, but not only did that not happen, the performance in the race was less than expected. Fernando Alonso and Jarno Trulli were...
Renault looked like it could have been heading for a front row lockout during qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix, but not only did that not happen, the performance in the race was less than expected. Fernando Alonso and Jarno Trulli were lying first and second after preliminary qualifying at Sepang but in the final session Trulli only managed eighth and Alonso spun off.
Early in the race the pair were very competitive, Alonso up to a points position within four laps after starting at the back, and Trulli improved to fifth. But after a tyre change, the Italian was disappointed to find the handling of the car got worse.
"Obviously, I am a little disappointed, and we have yet to find out exactly why the car didn't perform to the level we had expected," Trulli told the team website. "Once we changed tyres, we found we were actually going slower because of the front graining, and we still don't quite understand exactly how that happened."
"We expected to find ourselves with an oversteering race car and set the car up to counteract this, but in fact I was fighting understeer. It was frustrating to see Jenson and Rubens pulling away from me after overtaking them in the first part of the race but in spite of pushing, there was nothing I could do."
Last year Alonso and Trulli qualified one-two at Sepang but this time around Trulli knew they would not be so competitive as soon as he got on track for the Friday practices.
"We arrived feeling confident, certainly, but as soon as we started running on Friday, we could see we were struggling slightly compared to what we managed to do last year. As we saw in the race, the level of performance at the front is very close, and Fernando and I were both pushing really hard to get the maximum out of the car this weekend. It was much harder to be competitive than last year."
Alonso agrees with his teammate that there's more work to do on the Renault. "We made mistakes all weekend," the Spaniard said in regard to Malaysia. "But we learn from them. Something else we've learned is that our car is not as competitive as a lot of people seem to think."