Spanish GP: Renault Saturday qualifying notes

Fernando second and Fisico eighth after Saturday's first qualifying session. The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team scored a strong provisional qualifying result this afternoon in Barcelona, with drivers Fernando Alonso taking second position while ...

Fernando second and Fisico eighth after Saturday's first qualifying session.

The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team scored a strong provisional qualifying result this afternoon in Barcelona, with drivers Fernando Alonso taking second position while Giancarlo Fisichella, running second in the hour-long session, finished eighth.

These positions put the drivers in prime position to take strong top six grid positions tomorrow, and the team is pleased with the performance of the R25 and its Michelin tyres over longer race simulation runs.

Fernando Alonso:

"It was a special qualifying session for me, to be competing in front of all the fans and see their support around the lap today. In the car, I made a couple of small mistakes on my timed lap, so I am pleased to be in the top three for tomorrow morning and, probably, the race."

"There was a little more grip out there than I had expected, so I am encouraged because the car has the potential to be faster. But it has felt good all weekend, and I think we are set up well for tomorrow in second qualifying and the race, when I will be able to attack even more."

Giancarlo Fisichella:

"I did a clean lap, maybe a little conservative, but the important thing for me was to make up positions and get into the top eight. I think things will be better tomorrow morning -- Heidfeld will lose positions with his penalty, and Michael (Schumacher) is only two tenths ahead of me, so I hope I can climb up into the top six in qualifying."

"For the race, we have a good pace in longer runs and a good set-up for tomorrow afternoon. The podium is a long way to go from eighth, but I certainly think I can score a good points finish."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:

"Giancarlo did a solid lap but paid the penalty of his early running slot, especially as the first sector seemed very slippery early in the session. Fernando performed well, although a small mistake in turn 10 cost him a certain provisional pole. All in all, the team had a good session, building on our strong work earlier in the weekend."

"Looking ahead to tomorrow afternoon, tyre preservation will be a key factor to the teams' race pace: the forecast predicts hot conditions similar to today, and I believe we may see more differences in the tyre performance between teams than so far this year. From our point of view, we are very pleased with the performance of the compounds Michelin offered us here in Barcelona."

Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Operations:

"This morning's practice session suggested that all the ingredients were there for an exciting and extremely close qualifying session, and that is exactly how things turned out."

"Qualifying saw some fairly large differences in performance within the teams, ours included -- although Giancarlo undoubtedly suffered from his early running slot and the difficulty of not having a reliable target lap-time to aim for. We are among our expected competitors, McLaren and Toyota, at the front of the grid, and Fisico has made a good first step to recovering his position.

"It was a surprise to see Ferrari apparently struggle for pace over a single lap, although we had seen signs earlier in the weekend that this might be the case, but it would be a brave decision to write them off on the basis of qualifying alone. On the technical side, we have had an incident-free weekend, and have been able to prepare well for the race ahead."

Fernando Alonso
2nd, 1:14.811
Giancarlo Fisichella
8th, 1:15.601

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Fernando Alonso
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Renault F1 Team