It was a mixed afternoon for the ING Renault F1 Team as Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet qualified in 7th and 17th places respectively for today's Monaco Grand Prix.
After a damp free practice session morning, the weather improved for the afternoon with warm and sunny conditions prevailing for what proved to be a fiercely competitive session. Nelson's session was brief as the young Brazilian was unable to progress beyond the first part of qualifying, ending up on the eighth row of the grid. The team will support him as he aims to fight through the field tomorrow.
Fernando squeezed through to Q2, and then delivered his best time of the weekend to progress to the top ten shootout. He ended the day in 7th and is well placed to deliver a strong race tomorrow.
Fernando Alonso P7"In Monaco qualifying is more important than anywhere else and our goal today was to make it through to Q3. It is very difficult to overtake, but I think it is quite an open race and as we are not fighting for the championship we can approach this race aggressively and take a few risks. It will be a competitive race, that is for sure, but we just have to wait and see what the weather does."
Nelson Piquet P17"I am very disappointed. I had a small problem with the brakes in Q1 and I was not on the pace. The car was very sensitive, but we saw with Fernando that it improved gradually throughout the session, which is all the more frustrating for me. A race from the back of the grid is always difficult, especially in Monaco, but I will give my maximum tomorrow, although my only real chance is to hope for rain, which will mix things up."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering "It's not been an easy day with the weather this morning giving us very little time to finish the work that we had to do. Consequently, we weren't even sure going into qualifying which would be the best tyre for the session. Nelson has suffered from the lack of running, but Fernando has done a superb job once again and his position on the grid is a credit to him and I think we can have a strong race tomorrow. Now we have to wait and see what the weather brings."
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations"Fernando did a great job once again today. Nelson was not able to show his pace and did not progress past Q1, and I believe he did not realise his potential. So we are disappointed because it all rests on Fernando now. Nelson must prepare himself for a difficult race, but the weather tomorrow could really shake up the order."