Spanish GP: Renault Saturday qualifying notes

The Renault F1 Team took first and second positions on the grid for the Spanish Grand Prix this afternoon, with World Champion Fernando Alonso taking pole position at his home race for the first time, ahead of team-mate Giancarlo...

The Renault F1 Team took first and second positions on the grid for the Spanish Grand Prix this afternoon, with World Champion Fernando Alonso taking pole position at his home race for the first time, ahead of team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella.

This is the first all-Renault front row since the 2005 Chinese Grand Prix, the team's third pole position of the season in six races, and Fernando Alonso's second consecutive pole.

Both drivers have enjoyed a trouble-free weekend so far, and the R26 is handling well on the long high-speed corners of the Circuit de Catalunya. Tomorrow, tyre performance is expected to be a determining factor, as the circuit is notoriously demanding for tyres.

So far, both Renault drivers have demonstrated the excellent single-lap performance of the Michelin products, and are confident in their consistency over a race distance.

Fernando Alonso, Pole position:

"I don't think even 66 laps tomorrow will be enough for me to enjoy this race, because it is pure pleasure to be driving here in Barcelona this weekend in front of my people. It is fantastic to be on pole because the times have been very close all the way through practice, probably because we test a lot at this circuit, and we expected the qualifying session to be tough."

"In fact, we were more nervous about Q2 than Q3 before the session started. But like in the Nurburgring, we were not so strong in the second part, and then found something extra in the third session, so I am really happy to take my second consecutive pole."

"Looking ahead for tomorrow, after the Renaults it is clear that Ferrari and especially Michael are very strong. So far, my worst result in five races has been second position, and if we can keep this consistency then it will be good for the championship. But we will go into the race thinking the victory is possible.

Giancarlo Fisichella, 2nd position:

"It is nice to be P2 after a couple of difficult qualifying sessions for me at the last races. The Renault performance has been very good here all winter in testing, and we expected to be competitive at this circuit. To take the front row is a great result, and we are optimistic that we have a good package not just in qualifying, but for the race."

"I said at the last races that I could have fought for the podium if my qualifying position had been stronger, and I think I proved that today. There will be a tough battle for us with Ferrari tomorrow afternoon, and between the tyre manufacturers as well. I am looking forward to a great race."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:

"This was a very exciting qualifying session, and we were delighted to see both of our drivers put in perfect laps today. We have been pleased with the long-run performance of the Michelin tyres so far this weekend, and this afternoon's result shows they are working well on the first lap too. It has all the makings of a very exciting race tomorrow.

Denis Chevrier, Head of Trackside Engine Operations:

"It is extremely satisfying to see both cars on the front row this afternoon, and to see Fernando take pole in front of his home fans -- the second in a row for him, and the RS26B engine. We have had a very smooth weekend so far, and went into qualifying with the intention of putting ourselves in the optimum position for the race."

"Taking the front row is the perfect way to do that, and puts us in the right place to make the most of our pace in race conditions. After two difficult qualifying sessions, we were all pleased to see Giancarlo put in a faultless performance, and qualify strongly at the front of the field. We are now looking forward to a strong team performance in tomorrow afternoon's Grand Prix."

-renault-

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