US GP: Renault Saturday qualifying notes

The Renault F1 Team qualified strongly for tomorrow's United States Grand Prix this afternoon at Indianapolis, with Giancarlo Fisichella taking third position and Fernando Alonso fifth. Both drivers endured a difficult morning, struggling to get...

The Renault F1 Team qualified strongly for tomorrow's United States Grand Prix this afternoon at Indianapolis, with Giancarlo Fisichella taking third position and Fernando Alonso fifth.

Both drivers endured a difficult morning, struggling to get rid of an understeering car balance, and Fernando in particular continued to battle against this during the qualifying session.

Giancarlo Fisichella completed a pressured qualifying hour in style with competitive laps in the final part of the session to put him third on the grid, while Fernando Alonso will start fifth -- with hopes of racing for a podium finish tomorrow.

In the face of particularly strong competition from Ferrari, the team's objective will be to score the maximum number of championship points possible in order to preserve as large an advantage as possible in the constructors' chase.

Giancarlo Fisichella, 3rd position:

"I am really pleased to be third on the grid because this has not been the best circuit for us so far this weekend. I was quite happy with the car today, but we still have grip problems and we don't know why. Looking to the race, I am feeling confident and we have to be optimistic about our chances. We need to fight for a good finish to keep ourselves in a strong position in the championship."

Fernando Alonso, 5th position:

"I did the maximum possible today. The car was understeering this morning and we worked to try and correct it during practice. In the end, we were adding front wing during qualifying as well to get a better balance, but it was still difficult to drive and costing me time. The Grand Prix tomorrow will be a long one, so hopefully the strategy will work well for us and help me gain positions. I will be aiming for the podium, and trying to limit the damage in the championship."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:

"It seemed obvious after practice this morning that we would not be able to race Ferrari this weekend, and it would have been wrong to compromise our race strategy by going for the front row today. Giancarlo put in some excellent qualifying laps today and deserved his place on the second row."

"We were not able to get rid of the understeer on Fernando's car but although this has compromised his performance today, things may turn in his favour tomorrow with track temperatures expected to be in the high 40s."

"On the tyre side, the main concern this weekend was the durability of the tyres. The professional engineering approach Michelin took to the problems they experienced last year has solved that, and we look forward to a safe race tomorrow. There is no doubt it will also be a very tough Grand Prix, but we will certainly be racing for the podium."

Denis Chevrier, Head of Trackside Engine Operations:

"Last weekend in Montreal, our grid positions made us favourites for the race; today, we are much more clearly the challengers, with very strong opposition ahead of us on the grid. On the engine side, the weekend has unfolded normally and the RS26 engines have performed strongly. Our straightline speeds are competitive, which leaves us in a strong position for the race, and we are confident in our strategy."

"It will be an extremely hot Grand Prix, which could have consequences for the reliability of all the engines on a circuit where they are under extreme duress. We expect a race full of difficult challenges, but one in which, if we perform to our potential, we can still score plenty of points."

-renault-

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