21 May: Monaco Grand Prix - Saturday Qualifying Report - Renault F1
second and Fisico fourth after first qualifying in Monaco.
The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team registered a strong performance
in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix: the team's drivers Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella finished the day on the first
two rows of the provisional grid, which was characterised by unusually large time gaps between the leading drivers. Fernando Alonso
finished the session in second position, while Giancarlo Fisichella was fourth after losing time in the final sector. The team is in
optimistic mood for tomorrow's final qualifying session and race, and is confident in the speed of the R25 on long runs with old
tyres. The Grand Prix will be closely-fought.
Fernando Alonso, P2 "I am extremely happy with P2 after that
session. The circuit conditions were unknown for me after Ralf's accident, because I did not have the chance to see anybody else run
on the circuit before me as I was on my out-lap when Jarno (Trulli) was qualifying. That meant it was a question of staying flat on
the exit of Tabac and hoping the car got through, but it worked. The lap was quite good from my point of view and although the gap
to Kimi is big, I am pleased to be on the front row because that is where you need to be at this circuit. We will have to see if
there are areas to improve for tomorrow, but I am feeling confident in the car's performance and consistency."
Fisichella, P4 "The circuit seemed a bit more slippery than it was this morning, and in the last corner, I had a lot of
understeer – which cost me at least three tenths of a second and put me behind the Williams of Webber. I am feeling confident for
the race though: we know the car is quick over the long runs, and we were fast this morning on old tyres. I believe we will have a
very competitive afternoon tomorrow."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering "Giancarlo lost a
significant amount of time at the end of his lap with some unexpected understeer, Fernando's lap seemed clean, but the times
indicate that we still need a little more pace. We are in a good position to get our cars on, or close to, the front row tomorrow
morning, which is a key factor here in Monaco. Looking ahead to the race, we will be hoping to see both drivers on the podium at the
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Operations "The most surprising factor in this afternoon's
result is the size of the gaps between the different drivers – it is unusual to see the top cars separated by gaps of up to half a
second. As a result, regardless of variations in fuel loads, I don't expect to see the grid change much in second qualifying
tomorrow. Overall, we are happy to be the best placed team in this session, which gives us a good base to score plenty of points
tomorrow. The race result will be dictated by the ability of the leaders to maintain a competitive pace throughout – and from what
we have seen in practice, we are well able to do so."