24 July: German Grand Prix - Race Report - Renault F1
points for Renault with Fernando 1st and Fisico 4th.
The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team took its seventh win of the season,
and its second in Germany in 2005, at this afternoon's 2005 German Grand Prix in Hockenheim. Fernando Alonso converted his third
position on the grid into a comfortable victory after Kimi Raikkonen's retirement from the lead halfway through the race. The
Spaniard's run to the chequered flag was uneventful, and he controlled his pace throughout the final stint.
Fisichella's fourth place finish disguised an eventful Grand Prix, and a magnificent display of controlled, aggressive driving. The
Italian was hit by Sato on the exit of Turn 3 on the first lap, breaking his left rear wing endplate and depriving him of downforce,
as well as costing track position. The Italian climbed through the field during the first round of pit-stops, but soon afterwards
was asked by his engineers to slow his pace in order to preserve the rear brakes, which showed an unusually high level of wear.
These were inspected at his final stop, and the Italian drove the last stint with the brake balance wound fully forward. Three laps
from the end, he was given the all-clear on his brakes and was able to drive at his true pace. At this point, he neatly outbraked
Michael Schumacher into Turn 6 to take a hard-fought fourth place.
The Renault F1 Team now leads the Constructors'
Championship by 22 points from McLaren, with a total of 117 points. Fernando Alonso leads the drivers' championship by 36 points,
with a total of 87, while Giancarlo Fisichella still lies seventh – but within striking distance of his adversaries just ahead.
Alonso, Winner "I am delighted with this victory. We saw McLaren dominate this weekend, and knew it would be tough to
beat them in the race, even though our pace was much closer than in qualifying. So to win here in Germany is a good surprise but we
all know that the race is 70 laps long, and you don't get any prizes for being fastest until half-distance. The car was reliable all
weekend, as it has been throughout the season, and we know we have to find some more performance: that will start with new pieces
for Hungary. In terms of the race, it was quite straightforward – the biggest problem today, like in Silverstone, was with the
blue flags which were not being shown to the lapped traffic. After Kimi retired, it was quite easy to manage the gap to the others,
and control the race, so it was not the most exciting win. But I think it was an important afternoon for the team, because we
increased the lead to McLaren as well, and it puts us in a strong position for Hungary in a week's time."
Fisichella, 4th position "What a race! It was full of action, from start to finish, and with the problems we had, I
think it was good to finish fourth. I had a good start, but there was no space to pass on the right-hand side and that meant my line
into turn 1 was not ideal, so I was in a big bunch of cars at the next corners. On the run to the hairpin, Sato hit my car –
although he has apologised now – and knocked off part of the rear wing. The handling felt strange for a few laps, and I lost more
places before I could start pushing. I made some places at the first stop, then the engineers said to start looking after the rear
brakes, so I was taking things easily, braking earlier than normal and just controlling my pace. Even so, we were quite worried
about the wear and the brake balance was all the way forward at the end of the race! But two laps from the end, they said on the
radio that I could try and overtake Michael and it was quite easy – he had tyre problems, and I was much faster than him. It was a
good result for the team, but I still had the pace to do better."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director "You
have to finish races to win them, and that is what we managed today. I am delighted with the result this weekend. Along with
McLaren, we have been competitive since Friday afternoon and Fernando and Fisico both drove great races today – especially Fisico
at the end, when he was managing the brakes and still managed to overtake Michael. Fernando has strengthened his championship
position, and Fisico brought home more good points for the Constructors' Championship. I want to congratulate the whole team for the
win, and dedicate it to all our colleagues in the Renault group: we are proud to be racing for them."
Executive Director of Engineering "Fernando drove an outstanding race to take his sixth win of the season. As expected, our
race pace was much closer to the McLarens than in qualifying, and Fernando was still pushing hard when Kimi was forced to retire.
After that, it was a question of controlling his pace to the flag. Giancarlo put in an equally impressive drive to take fourth. He
was hit by Sato on lap one, which damaged the rear wing and cost him downforce, before experiencing unusually severe rear brake wear
from halfway through the race. He ended up driving with the balance all the way forward – primarily using the front brakes –
which is far from ideal at this circuit. In those circumstances, to finish fourth and overtake Schumacher on the penultimate lap was
quite an achievement."