Fernando Alonso struggled to conceal his frustration at dropping out of qualifying in Singapore, and now he reckons he will need a miracle to claw his way into the points.
The Spaniard went quickest of all in the opening practice sessions and looked well placed to challenge for the front two rows of the grid in qualifying.
But when a fuel problem intervened in Q2 forcing him onto the sidelines, there was little the double world champion could do but gesture his frustration. He will start the race from fifteenth place.
“It’s a really big disappointment because we had a real chance to do something special today, perhaps not pole position but to at least qualify in the top four,” Alonso rued after the ordeal was over.
“Our weekend was going really well and we had big hopes for this evening. I know that starting in the middle of the pack will make for a difficult race and I will need a miracle with the strategy to be able to make progress on this street circuit where it looks difficult to overtake. “
Things didn’t get much better for team-mate Nelson Piquet who again showed promise in the practice sessions before failing to scrape through into Q2 in an all too familiar sight for the Brazilian.
“I’m disappointed with my session,” he said after placing sixteenth, once place behind Alonso. “The car was working well and I was happy with the balance at the end of the final free practice session earlier this evening, but in qualifying we could not repeat that.”
“The race tomorrow will be tricky, but once again I will do all I can to fight back through the field.”
The result is a huge blow to Renault’s championship hopes. The French team are locked in a fierce battle with Toyota for fourth place and having had the measure of the Japanese squad in recent races, another solid points-haul looked to be on the cards in Singapore.
“All the way through practice Fernando has shown a potential on this wonderful new circuit better than we have had all year,” reflected Renault’s Pay Symonds.
“That makes it doubly frustrating to have this problem in qualifying which prevented Fernando and the team from showing what we could have done.”
“But as a team we never give up, and as it is apparently difficult to overtake here, we will have to be creative!”
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations added: “At the moment we can only look at the data on our systems and so we have to wait to recover Fernando’s car to understand exactly what happened.”
“It is of course an enormous disappointment because we were in a position to aim for a great result this evening. We now have to decide our strategy for tomorrow, but we can be sure that our drivers will do everything to progress in the race.”