Renault: 2008 Chinese Grand Prix preview 

Written by David on October 14th, 2008 at 3:16 pmLast Update: October 14th, 2008 at 3:16 pm

ING RenaultQ. Nelson, you had a great fight through the field at Fuji to finish the race in fourth place. Were you happy with your race? Nelson Piquet Jr: “Yes, absolutely. I am happy with my performance as I didn’t make any mistakes, I was quick and consistent, and the car was handling really well. Everything was going perfectly. I’m also happy to see that we are now fighting at the front. The team has worked very hard and that has really started to pay off and I just hope that things will continue like this until the end of the season and that we can aim for some more big points in the final two races.”

Q. We’re now heading into the Chinese Grand Prix – another new track for you. How are you approaching it? Nelson Piquet jr: “I am confident and looking forward to driving there. The circuit seems impressive and if we can get the car working as well as it did at Fuji then we have a good chance of a strong weekend. For me, it’s important to learn the circuit quickly on Friday so that I can make the most of the three hours of track time available to me. It’s quite a typical circuit so I’m not especially worried about it and I’ve already done some good preparation with my engineers based on the information and data from previous years.”

Q. What do you need in terms of set-up at Shanghai? Nelson Piquet jr: “Once again I think that we need to concentrate on getting a well-balanced car that has good change of direction and that is stable under braking so that I can feel confident and able to attack the circuit. From the start of the weekend at Fuji I felt comfortable in the car and I hope that will be the case again this weekend in Shanghai.”

Q. After your fourth place at Fuji, what objective have you set yourself for the Chinese Grand Prix? Nelson Piquet jr: “I think that we are hoping to build on the progress we have made recently and to have a strong race in China. I know that to have a good race I must improve my performance in qualifying to be able to reach Q3 so that I can aim for big things in normal race conditions. So I will start with this objective and we will then see what happens in the race, but I’m determined to score points as I know how important that is for the team’s fight for fourth place in the championship.”

Q. Fernando, two wins in two races. How does that feel? Fernando Alonso: “I am gradually realising what we have achieved because a few weeks ago winning a grand prix seemed totally out of the question. In Singapore, we were very disappointed with our qualifying, but in the race we had some luck and won the race. At Fuji, it was a completely different story. We totally deserved this victory; we were quick and our strategy played out perfectly. It’s simply unbelievable and I am extremely happy. The team has done an amazing job these last few weeks to get to this level of performance and we are now clearly the third fastest team.”

Q. After Japan last week, we remain in Asia for the Chinese Grand Prix. Is it a race that you enjoy? Fernando Alonso: “Formula One is still a relatively new sport in China but the fans are very enthusiastic and very welcoming, just as they are in Japan. It’s a real change of surroundings and the infrastructure here is enormous. I can’t wait to get back in the car this weekend as it’s an interesting place to drive a Formula One car.”

Q. What do you think of the circuit? Fernando Alonso: “I think the circuit provides several interesting challenges for both the drivers and the engineers. It’s made up of long straights, high-speed corners, but also some slow corners. So again it will be a case of compromising with the set-up to find the right balance with a car that is stable in the corners with plenty of downforce and which still has enough straight-line speed to be able to defend or overtake on the straights. That is what we will concentrate on during Friday practice.”

Q. With two consecutive victories, do you think you will be able to win again this weekend in Shanghai? Fernando Alonso: “It’s difficult to say. I would tend to say no, but then again I want to say yes! We saw at Fuji that our level of performance was reasonable compared to Ferrari and McLaren, so you have to feel that once again anything is possible this weekend – a podium or a victory. The whole team is very motivated after our two wins at Singapore and Fuji and we will do everything possible to have another strong race.”

source: ING Renault

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