Fernando Alonso took Renault a step closer to their target of fourth place in the constructors’ championship after making the bold move to switch to intermediate tyres in Sunday’s thrilling and rain-hit Italian Grand Prix.
The Spaniard started the race from eighth place and although he struggled to match the pace of the leaders in the first half of the race, he ran a long first stint, which enabled him to make the switch to intermediate tyres just as the track begun to dry.
Alonso just managed to hang onto his R28 in the opening laps on the cold tyres, and vaulted up to fourth place as his rivals followed suit.
“Once again, wet conditions gave us an exciting race and the long stint strategy worked perfectly for us, allowing us to have the best tyres at the best times,” explained Renault’s Pat Symonds.
“Both drivers drove extremely well in these difficult conditions, but today really belongs to Sebastian Vettel, congratulations to him!”
The result lifts Renault up onto level terms with Toyota in the constructors’ championship, the Cologne-based outift having failed to score a single point. Both teams are tied on 41 points, with BMW Sauber in third place.
“The result today is very good because Monza was supposed to be the race that we were looking forward to the least,” reflected Alonso after the race.
“We made up the five points that we needed in our championship fight, which is really rewarding and a big source of motivation for the rest of the season. I am now curious to see what awaits us in Singapore.”
Renault team boss Flavio Briatore reckons the Enstone-based outfit could have come home with a podium, had Alonso had more laps with which to home in on Robert Kubica.
“We could have finished on the podium today, but we still had a great race and have gained ground on Toyota, which was our objective,” he said.
In these difficult conditions, our two drivers performed well and had good drives. For the four races to come, we will now try to build on this to finish in fourth place in the championship.”
“Once again, wet conditions gave us an exciting race and the long stint strategy worked perfectly for us, allowing us to have the best tyres at the best times. Both drivers drove extremely well in these difficult conditions, but today really belongs to Sebastian Vettel, congratulations to him!”