Renault confident for Sunday

Renault is optimistic that it has the right car for a strong race in Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix despite drivers Fernando Alonso and Jacques Villeneuve qualifying a disappointing sixth and 13th respectively

Renault confident for Sunday

The team has had a difficult time at the new Shanghai International Circuit with both drivers well of the pace in the practice sessions. Villeneuve can perhaps be excused to a certain extent for not only is he learning a new circuit, he is also getting to grips with a totally new F1 machine that he has never driven before this weekend.

As expected, Alonso outqualified the French-Canadian, but both are agreed that they have a perfect car for race conditions and are confident of a strong result come Sunday.

"I had quite a difficult day because when we began running this morning, the car's handling was very different to yesterday and much more nervous," Alonso said. "We had to work on solving these problems, and that meant we did not really reach the car's full potential in qualifying. From my point of view, I did not make any mistakes on the lap - I was pushing right to the limit and it was definitely my best lap of the weekend in terms of getting everything right. I am much more confident for the race than I was before qualifying though: we have a good chance for tomorrow."

Villeneuve, who was four tenths off the pace of Alonso in what was a competitive and very tight final qualifying session, is likewise certain he will fare better in tomorrow's race.

"I am slightly disappointed with my position - although the gap to Fernando is not so big, I was really in the wrong part of the grid and the small time difference translated into a lot of positions between us. I wasn't completely happy with the lap in qualifying, and definitely lost several tenths in turn 13 before the main straight. But we know the car is better on used tyres - which means we will be stronger in the race than we were today."

Engineering chief Pat Symonds added: "There have been times this weekend when we have been further from the top of the timesheets than normal but I think our disciplined preparatory work has paid off. Fernando's grid position promises a strong race and we should also congratulate Jacques on a good performance. Single-lap qualifying is a difficult thing to get right when you have had limited time in the car, but his performance was good and we hope that tomorrow, his long distance pace will be even more competitive."

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