24 April: San Marino Grand Prix - Race Report - Renault F1
wins his third consecutive race, while Fisico retired in the early laps.
The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team took its fourth
consecutive win in the San Marino Grand Prix this afternoon at Imola. Starting from second position, Fernando Alonso took an
impressive win, his third consecutive victory of the season, under intense pressure from Michael Schumacher during the final laps.
He further consolidated his lead in the World Championship, and now sits atop the standings with 36 points. Giancarlo Fisichella
retired after just five laps after spinning at turn two, following a currently unspecified technical problem.
The RS25 V10
fitted to Fernando Alonso's car also became the first engine in the modern era of Formula 1 to win two consecutive races. The
victory was the 101st for a Renault engine in Formula 1, and the 21st for a Renault chassis.
Fernando Alonso, Winner "I
think this was my best win in Formula 1 so far, because it was different to all the others: I didn't have a gap to allow me to be
conservative, and I knew Michael was catching up from behind and that meant I had to push all the way through the race. In the end,
it worked perfectly and things were very close in the final laps, but I was 99% sure he would not be able to overtake here in Imola.
The car was good, but the race was the first time I had done more than three timed laps in a row this weekend because we were
managing the engine very carefully: we had to make our best estimates with the set-up, and then each lap was a surprise as we
discovered how the car changed. I lost some grip towards the end of the race but in the end, we did enough to get the win. Three in
a row is a fantastic feeling, and I'm really looking forward to Spain: it will be a big party for everybody, and I think we can aim
for the podium again."
Giancarlo Fisichella, Retired, lap 5 "I really don't know what happened this
afternoon. I made a good start and was much quicker than Heidfeld, so was just sitting behind him and waiting for the pit-stop. Then
going through turn 2, I lost the rear end of the car and spun into the wall. Obviously, it is extremely disappointing because we had
the pace again today to score some points."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director "I am very happy for the
team and Fernando. He did an incredible job today, and the way he held off Michael in the last ten laps was incredible. I think this
was a great race for Formula 1 and congratulations to Ferrari for their performance today. For me, this was a great afternoon for
Renault and Fernando, but also for our sport. I would also like to thank Louis Schweitzer: this is the last F1 victory before he
leaves his position as President of Renault, and we are proud to offer it to him."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director
of Engineering «It was fantastic to see two drivers of the calibre of Fernando and Michael fighting for the victory until the last
corner. Michael's pace this afternoon was amazing, and Ferrari are certainly back. Fernando nevertheless coped with it, and
dominated and controlled the race in difficult circumstances. As we have seen before from him this season, it was the drive of a
future champion. We are all very sorry for Giancarlo. All we know at this stage is that his accident appears to have been a car
problem, but we will not know what happened until we investigate further. Michelin also provided us with a strong balance of tyre
performance between qualifying and the race. While obviously we now face a very strong challenge from our competitors, Michelin have
done a very good job in responding to the challenge so far this season, and we look forward to an equally exciting race in
Fernando will start this afternoon's race second, while Giancarlo will be thirteenth.
Alonso, 2nd position Lap time: 1:23.552; total time, 2:43.441 Giancarlo Fisichella, 13th position Lap time: 1:25.002; total time,
Fernando Alonso, 2nd position "Conditions were tricky this morning, and every driver had to deal with
that. The gap to Kimi is quite big, and we saw yesterday that the performance of our cars was very close; given that the balance of
my car has not changed since yesterday, and it is still stable and easy to drive, I hope that the difference between us is down to
the strategy. We will only find that out this afternoon. Practice on Friday showed us that the car is consistent on the long runs in
race conditions, and I feel well prepared for the race. I will be going for the podium, and the win if possible."
Fisichella, 13th position "The grip levels were very low this morning, and especially because I was running early in the
session. That meant I had to do a clean lap with no mistakes, which I did without any problems. I have gained two positions compared
to yesterday, which will definitely help me for the race. It will be a long afternoon for us, and a tough Grand Prix for the cars
and drivers, but I hope to be able to score some points."