Renault: 2008 Hungarian GP preview 

Written by David on July 28th, 2008 at 7:08 pmLast Update: July 28th, 2008 at 7:08 pm

ING RenaultQ. Nelson, you finished second in the German Grand Prix. Talk us through your weekend… Nelson Piquet jr.: “Finishing on the podium was obviously an amazing result for the team. After a disappointing position in qualifying, I thought that was the end of my weekend as I knew it would be difficult to score points. But we didn’t give up and the team chose to do something different with the strategy by only stopping once to see if we could take advantage of anything – that proved to be a great decision as I made my only pit stop just as the safety car came out. That meant that we were on the ideal strategy and able to finish on the podium.”

Q. How did it feel to stand on the Formula One podium for the first time? Nelson Piquet jr.: “Standing on the podium and seeing all the team so happy felt great and it’s a big boost for all of us. I know that I was a bit lucky, but you have to take the luck when it comes your way and towards the end of the race we were strong enough to hold on for second place. The car was handling really well, even though we were on the soft tyres, and I was able to push hard and stay consistent. To get a podium is a great reward for the whole team, especially after some of the problems we have had this year, and I’m delighted to get this result in my rookie season. Obviously I hope this is just the beginning as I want to experience the feelings I had in Germany again soon.”

Q. We head to Hungary next – a circuit where you enjoyed a great GP2 race a couple of years ago. Are you looking forward to going back there? Nelson Piquet jr.: “Absolutely. My GP2 weekend in 2006 was very special because I won the feature race on the Saturday from pole position and then the sprint race on the Sunday, as well as setting the fastest lap in both races. It was definitely one of my best weekends in racing. It’s quite a rewarding track to drive if you can find a good rhythm and it seems to suit my driving style. Obviously I haven’t driven there in a Formula One car yet, but I’m looking forward to doing that this weekend.”

Q. And finally, what are your aims for the weekend? Nelson Piquet jr.: “I think it will be difficult to fight for another podium under usual circumstances because the gap to the leading cars is still too big. I also think that the battle in the midfield will be very competitive, just as it was in Germany, and so I will need to concentrate on getting a good grid position because it is so difficult to overtake in Hungary. If we can reach Q3 then I think the realistic goal is to fight for some points on Sunday, and if we can do that I will be very happy.”

Q. Fernando, the team scored its first podium in Germany. But you were out of luck in the race and finished outside the points… Fernando Alonso: “Yes, I had a difficult race, but I was prepared for that because I knew it would be difficult to convert the pace I had shown in qualifying into race pace on Sunday. It’s a disappointing result for me, but with the podium for Nelson the team scored lots of points and that’s important for the championship. For my teammate it was important to get a strong result; it’s positive for the team and will help us all attack the second half of the championship.”

Q. We are now in Budapest, a circuit where you have had success in the past and some great memories… Fernando Alonso: “That’s right, I won my first Formula One race at this circuit with the Renault F1 Team in 2003 and it’s a place were I have always gone well. So I’m happy to go back there again this year and determined to bounce back after my result in Germany.”

Q. Is this generally a popular Grand Prix? Do you think there is a special atmosphere? Fernando Alonso: “I don’t know really. For me it certainly is because I have some great memories here and the race usually takes place around the time of my birthday. There are always lots of spectators, the people are very kind, and we always enjoy a warm welcome – that is why the paddock enjoys coming back to Budapest each year.”

Q. Can you tell us about the circuit? Fernando Alonso: “It’s quite a demanding track and the temperatures are often quite high for the race, which makes things even more difficult, especially for the drivers and the mechanics. To be quick here you need very high levels of downforce, as well as good grip and traction to get performance out of the low-speed corners. So we will begin working on these things as soon as free practice begins on Friday, building on the information we learnt last week in Jerez.”

source: ING Renault 

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