Fernando Alonso says he is disappointed with his sixth row grid slot for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix but is determined to fight hard for points in the race.
The double world champion believes he could have ended today’s qualifying session as high as fifth or sixth, but mistakes on both his qualifying runs meant he was unable to progress to the top ten shoot out.
However, Alonso is determined to battle his way through the field in tomorrows race.
“We arrived here to fight for the podium, but this might not be the case tomorrow,” the Spaniard said.
“We were very close to Q3 times, only two or three tenths of a second off, but I made a mistake as I tried to make up some time in the final corner.”
“I’m disappointed as I thought I could be fifth or sixth on the grid. However, last year I started in 12th and got up to 4th in the race so I’m still confident that tomorrow, if we have an eventful race, I can get a good result.”
While Renault’s director of engineering Pat Symonds shares Alonso’s frustration he does not believe Renault are too far off the top teams.
“We are obviously disappointed, but the performance of all the cars is very close and our position in qualifying doesn’t necessarily reflect where we will finish in the race.”
“I think that we’re not too far from the teams that we should be fighting and we hope that our KERS system will bring us a genuine advantage during race conditions tomorrow.”
Nelson Piquet meanwhile showed little signs of making improvements to his driving over the winter and wound up seventeenth.
“I knew it was going to be a bit tough today, after a difficult weekend for us. At the start of qualifying the car seemed okay, but then I started to struggle. This track is not one I enjoy particularly. I was pushing a little too hard and made a mistake in the last sector.”