It was a case of contrasting fortunes for the ING Renault F1 Team this afternoon as Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet qualified in 5th and 17th places respectively for tomorrow’s German Grand Prix in Hockenheim.
Conditions were overcast as qualifying got underway with the threat of rain in the air, although the track remained dry throughout the qualifying hour. Nelson had a difficult afternoon and was unable to progress beyond the first stage of qualifying, ending the session in 17th.
Fernando progressed through to the top ten shootout and confirmed the strong pace he had shown earlier in the weekend, setting his fastest lap of the weekend in Q2. He then proceeded to secure a third row starting slot with the 5th fastest time in the final part of qualifying.
With Fernando well placed the team can aim to fight for a strong points finish tomorrow, while supporting Nelson’s fight through the field on a track where overtaking is possible.
Fernando Alonso P5
“Our performance today is a nice surprise because we still had some doubts this morning and the first two parts of qualifying were not easy, and the field was very closely matched, as Nelson found out. The track conditions were slightly different to this morning and there was a bit more wind. We must now aim to maintain this pace in the race, which has been our weak point so far, and, if we can do that, we can hope to have a great result in the race tomorrow.”
Nelson Piquet P17
“After a very promising practice session this morning, I am of course disappointed not to have passed through the first stage of qualifying. During my lap, Vettel was in front of me, which unsettled me a little, although the FIA felt that he did not impede me.”
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering
“Fernando ran some excellent laps in Q2 and Q3 and we are confident that our third row starting position has been achieved with a competitive fuel load. Nelson had some difficulties in the first part of qualifying, but we expect him to have a solid race. The weather predictions seem to be better for tomorrow and so we are looking forward to a good race.”
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations
“We saw once again that qualifying can be difficult, but we can be happy with the superb qualifying performance of Fernando. This fifth position allows us to have solid hopes for the race tomorrow, even though we know the battle will be very competitive towards the front. It should not rain tomorrow, and so the track should not change radically, which will certainly make things easier for the drivers. Nelson must prepare to approach the race aggressively, and we will do our best to help him move forward.”