looked all at sea in the early laps of the German Grand Prix as Giancarlo Fisichella
’s Force India Mercedes swept past for position following a poor starting position for the double world champion. Alonso however soon picked up the pace and in the latter stages of
the race was the fastest man on the circuit as he hauled his way up to seventh position at the chequered flag and the Spaniard was left most impressed by the latest developments to the R29 package, if not his finishing position.
“We have definitely improved and the latest upgrades made us much more competitive,” Alonso stated. “It’s just a shame that I lost out in the wet qualifying because starting down in 12th meant I was out of position and couldn’t show the true pace of the car in the first half of the race. When I did have some clean air, the car was really quick and I set the fastest time for 11 laps of the race so I think we had the potential to be on the podium. It’s always easy to say what might have been, but to come away with just two points was a bit disappointing.”
Heading to Hungary this week, Alonso acknowledges that a strong qualifying performance will be key to a strong race as passing at this circuit is very difficult.
“Overtaking is really difficult and the only real opportunity is into turn one at the end of the main straight, so it’s important that we maximise our performance in qualifying so we can start the race well inside the top ten.
While Alonso has scored 13 points so far this season for Renault, team-mate Nelson Piquet has yet to score and languishes down in 19th position in the standings with a best result of tenth to his credit. The Brazilian racer, now in his second season with the Anglo-French team, is well aware that he needs to start scoring points if he is to retain his seat.
“I should have the same upgrades as Fernando in Hungary and I think I can be more competitive, Piquet stated. “As always I will be aiming to qualify in the top ten and hopefully score some points in the race.
“Qualifying will be vital as it’s so tough to overtake at the Hungaroring because the braking zones are small and it’s very dirty offline, so it’s important that we concentrate on getting the most from Saturday.”
While Alonso is happy with the R29 updates, Technical Director Bob Bell warns against feeling over confident.
“It is encouraging, but we need to be cautious and not get too excited by a single performance,” Bell said. “We now need to go to Hungary and consolidate that performance improvement to confirm that the pace of the car is genuine and not simply due to unique circumstances in Germany, such as the track conditions or tyre performance.”