Formula 1 News - September 2005
|11 September: Belgian Grand Prix - Race Report - Renault F1|
Second place for Fernando Alonso. Fisico retired after a big crash in Eau Rouge, but walked away unharmed.
Fernando Alonso took second position in this afternoon's Belgian Grand Prix after a controlled performance throughout the 44 lap race, which was run in greasy conditions. Team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella crashed in Eau Rouge on lap 11. Fernando and Giancarlo started the race in fourth and thirteenth positions respectively, in greasy conditions on intermediate tyres. Fernando ran fourth for the early part of the race, while Giancarlo quickly made progress through the field, climbing from P14 on lap one to P7 on lap 10. However, he then lost control of his R25 in the quickest corner on the circuit, Eau Rouge, but escaped unhurt from the ensuing accident. Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, ran a two-stop strategy, pitting under the safety car brought out by his team-mate's accident and then once more on lap 32. As the circuit slowly dried, fitting dry tyres became an increasingly enticing option, but Fernando maintained his third position and a controlled pace. Juan-Pablo Montoya's accident promoted the Spaniard to second position in the closing laps, at the same time as the circuit became viable for dry tyres; however, the gap to Fernando's pursuers meant he could manage the gap as the laps counted down and cross the line seven seconds ahead of Jenson Button. Fernando Alonso now leads the drivers' championship by 25 points, with a total of 111 points, while the Renault F1 Team maintains a 6 point lead in the Constructors' Championship, losing 2 points to McLaren this afternoon, with a total of 152 points.
Fernando Alonso, 2nd position
"It was a hard race for everybody this afternoon, with really difficult conditions, but we knew we had a competitive car and that we didn't need to take any big risks. Sometimes, these races can bring some big surprises, so I am pleased to come away with a normal result, which was exactly what I needed. The rear end of the car was moving about a lot in the high speed corners, which made it hard to attack a lot in the quick parts of the circuit, so I just backed off quite early and made sure I would take home plenty of points. I didn't make any mistakes, and P3 was going to be perfect for me, then I saw Montoya's accident – so P2 is even better, and it was nice to have some more help from McLaren. We were debating all the way through the race, and especially in the last laps, whether or not we should take the dry tyres, but I think we did the right thing: we didn't need to take the gamble, and played it safe. I want to say a big thank you to Michelin as well: we started the race in wet conditions, and finished with the track nearly dry, but the tyres they gave us were extremely quick all the way through. They have done a really fantastic job."
Giancarlo Fisichella, retired lap 11
"The first few laps were perfect for me. I lost some positions at the start, but then the car was just flying: I was much faster than everybody around me, and just picking off the positions when I could to try and climb up the field. I was running quite low downforce, so the handling was tricky at times but I was still quicker than the guys in front of me. I had got to P7 when I lost the car in Eau Rouge. I don't really understand what happened at the moment, and I need sit down with the engineers to look at the data in a bit more detail."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director
"This was a very difficult race, and Fernando has got another fantastic result. The whole team did a great job, with some perfect stops and the strategy was what we needed. Everybody did a great job today. Fisico was pushing hard and really flying when he crashed. I think he did a great job too, but sometimes accidents happen – as we saw with Montoya as well. Fernando did the job he needed to, and now I think it will be difficult for Raikkonen to catch him; but the constructors' championship is much closer, and we will stay focused on that until the end."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering
"This was always going to be a race of nerves, and it certainly turned out that way. We had a number of difficult decisions to make, and it is very satisfying to take second place after that. In the early stages, Giancarlo was the fastest man out there and I am sure that without one mistake, we would have had two cars on the podium. But today was all about a team effort, and alongside a faultless drive from Fernando, the team did a fantastic job in a pressure situation. We had some problems with our pit-stops at the last couple of races, and the mechanics all worked very hard on it for this weekend. The excellent stops showed their work has paid off."
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