Briatore: McLaren the Only Rivals

Renault boss Flavio Briatore still believes that his team are locked in a straight head-to-head fight with McLaren for title honours this year, despite Fernando Alonso's stunning victory in the French Grand Prix

Briatore: McLaren the Only Rivals

After Michael Schumacher's form failed to impress in the race as he came home a distance third, Briatore said that his entire team's focus was now on heading off the challenge of McLaren - which he believed were now as strong as his team.

"I think at this point we are on par with McLaren, so we need to play for it every day," said Briatore on Italian station RAI. "I'm convinced every Sunday it's a different race, and when we go to England we'll have to play in defence.

"The important thing is knowing that we just have one rival, so we can concentrate on them."

Briatore believed that Renault's success on home soil owed much to the efforts of tyre supplier Michelin, which roared back in style following the embarrassment of the United States Grand Prix.

"It's a victory for Renault and a victory for Michelin. We are extremely happy about it; it's a fantastic day for us.

"We have to say that we took points in the constructors' championship over McLaren, and I have to also thank Michelin. We had some very difficult days lately with them and the team lately, but when you get a victory like this in France, maybe it's because we deserved it."

Renault's day was not perfect however, and Briatore claimed that he was amazed that Alonso's teammate Giancarlo Fisichella continued to be struck with bad luck. This time a faulty refuelling rig cost the Italian valuable time at his first pit-stop before he eventually finished sixth.

"When Fisichella came in for his pitstop we had a problem with the refuelling rig. It's incredible we can't manage to get two cars to the end because we had two very strong cars today.

"I'm sorry for him, all the team is, because today should have been his day too. He had a great race, quite perfect. Maybe it's a bit him and a bit us."

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