21 August: Turkish Grand Prix - Race Report - Renault F1
second and Fisico fourth in the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix.
The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team took strong second and fourth
place finishes this afternoon with Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella in the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix. This meant the team
scored thirteen points, and retains its lead in the Constructors' Championship by nine points. Fernando Alonso's second place finish
means he loses just two points to rival Kimi Raikkonen in the drivers' championship, and he now holds a 24 point lead.
Alonso started strongly from third position and crossed the line in this position at the end of lap one. He was able to overtake
team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella on lap two, and then concentrated on completing a consistent, competitive two-stop race. He was
running in third position behind the two McLarens five laps from the end, when a collision for Juan Pablo Montoya, followed by an
off-track excursion, meant he was able to take second position on the penultimate lap.
Giancarlo Fisichella started strongly
from second position to take the lead on lap one. However, he struggled to get his tyres up to temperature in the opening laps, and
ran wide on the exit of Turn 10 – costing him speed down the back straight, and one position to Kimi Raikkonen. He was
subsequently passed by his team-mate on the next lap, and then concentrated on running a similar two-stop strategy to his team-mate.
He was delayed by a fuel rig problem at the opening stop, but made a strong recovery from ninth position to take fourth place at the
Fernando Alonso, 2nd position "We had a slightly different race to normal today: we qualified quite early
yesterday, when the track was slower, and that meant we had to try something unusual to get a good grid position. So we were quite
light, and got a clean first stint – which meant we could run without traffic for the rest of the race, and this paid off with two
good finishes for the team. From my point of view, I knew the McLarens were faster so I concentrated on doing a race with no
mistakes, and driving consistently: the car was reliable again, and I had some luck with Montoya's problems as well. But you know,
sometimes you can make your own luck – I kept the pressure on, and it paid off because I was close enough to take advantage. In
terms of the championship, we know McLaren are faster – but this was as good a result as I could have hoped for."
Fisichella, 4th position "I got a great start even from the dirty side of the grid – we had a lighter fuel load than
the McLarens, and that gave us an advantage off the line. But I was struggling to get my tyres working properly in the opening laps,
which meant I went off on lap one and that allowed Kimi to pass me; then the team had told me Fernando was quicker, so when he got a
good slipstream down the back straight, I did not make things difficult for him because I knew I was fuelled a bit longer. I lost
time at the first pit-stop with a problem on the fuel rig, so after that it was a good recovery to finish fourth. The balance of the
car was quite good, so I was able to do consistent lap times and just push to the maximum. We have lost a few points in the
championship to McLaren, but given the speed they showed today, it's not too bad."
Flavio Briatore, Managing
Director "This was a strong result for the team after a difficult afternoon. McLaren were very competitive today, as we
expected, so we tried something different in qualifying to get to the front of the field. It worked well, and both Fernando and
Fisico drove great races – Fernando was in the right position to take advantage of Montoya's mistake, and Giancarlo recovered well
after problems at his pit-stop. Our reliability was perfect, and although the gaps are a little smaller after today, we are still
leading both championships. But we know we need to find more speed as well."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of
Engineering "This was a tough race for us today, particularly as McLaren once again showed a very impressive level of
performance. We had anticipated this yesterday after practice, and it led us to adopt early first stops in order to overcome the
disadvantage of our poor starting slots in qualifying. In spite of some problems with our pit-stops, we managed to get the results
we needed. Both drivers did a superb job – Fernando drove his usual aggressive, consistent race and Giancarlo recovered
exceptionally well from his problems at the first pit-stop. The next race brings us a very different challenge at Monza, where we
hope to run competitively – and we will begin preparations with both race drivers during testing this week."