2008 Australian GP: good performance from Fernando Alonso 

Written by David on March 16th, 2008 at 11:46 amLast Update: March 16th, 2008 at 11:46 am

Flavio Briatore, Nelson Piquet Jr and Fernando AlonsoFernando Alonso: “That was a very strange race with lots of overtaking, incidents and mechanical problems for lots of drivers. We were able to make the most of the opportunities that came our way today and finished the first Grand Prix with a good result, which will give the team a boost and give us confidence for the rest of the season. However, we must continue working to improve our level of performance in qualifying and our pace in the race, but the result today is very important for us.”

Nelson Piquet: “I made a good start and I was able to make up some places during the first lap, which was pretty hectic. Unfortunately I was hit at the start, which damaged my car and so I did not manage to reach the end of my first Grand Prix. Of course, I am disappointed, but I learned a lot this weekend and I cannot wait to go to Malaysia to continue my apprenticeship and hopefully get a better result. I already know the Sepang circuit, so it should be easier.”

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: “Fernando’s fourth place today is an excellent omen for the start of the season. He drove a superb race, fighting all the way from the back of the field. Even though we were set back twice by the safety car, what he managed to do was exceptional. In particular, his overtaking of the McLaren in the closing stages was spectacular. We still have to work, but it is encouraging to see that we are not the only team that needs to improve. As far as Nelson goes, this was his first race and a difficult one for him. But I am sure this has been a learning experience for him, and I am confident that in the races to come he will do better.”

Pat Symonds: “I think that Fernando’s performance today was just wonderful. He used everything that we gave him and more. We were rather unlucky with the safety cars and debated whether to switch strategies under the safety car, but our tyre wear would not allow us to change on to the soft tyre and reach the end of the race with just one stop. As it was Fernando got severe graining on the soft tyres in his final stint, which gave him a lot of understeer. Nelson’s difficult weekend continued as he got hit on the start line which caused considerable damage to the rear of the car. He found it very difficult to drive, which explains his slow lap times and maybe even his retirement as we are still investigating what happened.”

source: ING Renault 

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