Late Alonso charge signals Renault’s return to competitiveness

Fernando Alonso banished all memories of qualifying to record a champion’s drive in the German Grand Prix, setting fastest race lap and returning to the points for the first time since Monte Carlo.

However the Spaniard’s race was not without drama.  First, he spun on the formation lap trying to warm his tyres and brakes and then was envolved in a late battle with Brawn GP’s Rubens Barrichello over 6th position. Despite his best efforts Alonso ultimately had to settle for 7th.

The German Grand Prix proved to be a frustrating affair for Nelson Piquet. The Brazilian lost ground at the start and blamed traffic problems for his poor showing in 13th place.

Fernando Alonso – 7th: “It was a difficult race because my start was very poor and we lost quite a few positions before the first corner. After that, the race was tough and we were stuck in traffic, but the car has clearly improved as I set the fastest lap and scored some points. The most important thing I take from the weekend is that we are competitive and we can be optimistic for the races to come.”

Nelson Piquet – 13th: “It wasn’t an easy race for me today and I’m disappointed not to get a better result. I lost ground at the start as I had some problems warming up the tyres. After that I got held up in traffic, which made it very difficult to make any progress in the second half of the race. I pushed really hard all afternoon, but I just couldn’t match the pace of Fernando who had the new updates on his car.”

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: “Although we have come away with just two points, it has been a positive weekend for the team. Fernando had great pace, setting the fastest lap of the race and making good progress through the field. It’s just a shame that we were penalised by our qualifying position yesterday, where we lost out in the difficult weather conditions. We now need to build on this performance and continue making progress as we enter the second part of the season, just as we did last year.”

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: “The car looked a lot more competitive this weekend. Fernando’s problem in qualifying coupled with the team’s problem with the start made it a difficult race, but when he was out of the traffic he was able to show the exceptional pace of the car with the developments that have been made to it. With Nelson, we decided to go for a long first stint and, as the temperature came up on the grid, we decided to start on prime tyres. Again, he had a problem with the start and the warm-up of the tyres, which left him with too much to do to be able to capitalise on his grid position.”

Remi Taffin, Head of Engine Operations: “Overall we have to be disappointed with the weekend. Despite bringing lots of developments here, we haven’t made the most of them. The car has clearly improved, but we didn’t have a good qualifying session or a good start today and it was only in the second half of the race that we could show the true potential of the car. So although we are disappointed with the result, we can take a lot of positives from the performance of the car for the rest of the season.”