Pat Symonds, Renault's Executive Director of Engineering, was pleased with the team's strongest qualifying result of the season so far. Q: Pat, Giancarlo second and Fernando third on the grid -- you must be pleased? Pat Symonds: Yes, it's a...
Pat Symonds, Renault's Executive Director of Engineering, was pleased with the team's strongest qualifying result of the season so far.
Q: Pat, Giancarlo second and Fernando third on the grid -- you must be pleased?
Pat Symonds: Yes, it's a very good start for the race tomorrow. This new qualifying format is an extremely busy hour for all the engineers, and that was true again today -- particularly because the weather conditions were uncertain as we went into the qualifying session. But we got through the hour without any problems, apart from Fernando hitting a little traffic on his quick lap at the end of the session.
Q: Fernando seemed a little frustrated with Fisico at the start of the third session -- what was that about?
PS: Fernando had started the third part of the qualifying session on new tyres, and so wanted to make sure he had a clear track to get the most out of them. The team was a little late in informing Fisico, who wasn't aware of the situation. As soon as he was told, he moved out of the way and let Fernando through.
Q: How has the R26 been handling so far this weekend?
PS: Extremely well. As we have become accustomed to, the balance of the R26 was good as soon as we started running on Friday, and we have made some improvements to the set-up to ensure we are getting the most out of the tyres in these cool conditions.
Giancarlo lost a little running time yesterday owing to a small engine problem, and couldn't do much in the wet conditions this morning, but he worked well with his engineers to find a good balance, which was reflected in his qualifying result.
Q: What are you expecting tomorrow afternoon?
PS: I think we can expect a three-way battle between ourselves, Jenson Button and the two McLarens. Strategy-wise, the obvious options are to two or three-stop, and I think there may be some variation among the top runners.
The key, though, will be to make a good start, to get the Michelin tyres working properly, and to push at the right points of the race. We have seen already this year that both our drivers can do that, so we're feeling pretty optimistic about our chances this evening.