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GP Week : Issue 16
F1 france >> Piquet delighted with points NELSON Piquet couldn’t contain his delight following his break-through F1 performance. The Brazilian had come under increasing pressure to perform following a difficult start to his debut F1 season but, at the home race of his Renault F1 team, he sparkled to beat his double world champion team-mate Fernando Alonso and take two valuable points. “It feels good,” he told GPWeek shortly after jumping out of his car having finished seventh. “I don’t know what to say. The race was pretty good and we had no problems. Most of the race was clear and the strategy was perfect for me, I was lucky not to get too much traffic.” Piquet had fought a hard race from the off, keeping the two McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen behind him until the first round of pit stops. Exiting the pits ahead of Kovalainen, his car slowed however allowing the Finn to pass him. Without that error, Piquet felt he could have kept Kovalainen, who went on to finish fourth, behind him. “I made a little mistake exiting the pits. I think the car went into neutral when Heikki overtook me, which was the only down part of the race. I kept Lewis behind me, so I’m sure I could have held Heikki.” Following the difficult start to his season, Piquet told GPWeek that his confidence was now sky high and that he couldn’t wait to get to Silverstone, one of his favourite Grand Prix tracks: “I knew I could do it,” he smiled. “I just needed to put it all together and get lucky with the engine, the car and the strategy. Now we move on to Silverstone and it’ll be even better.” JARNO Trulli has dedicated his French Grand Prix podium to his team’s former F1 guiding hand, Ove Andersson, who was killed just over a week ago. Andersson had overseen Toyota’s move into Formula 1 in 2002, and Trulli’s podium came after a weekend in which the whole team had pushed to its maximum to pay the late Swede suitable homage. “What a great result and a great weekend by the whole team,” the Italian said. “We were pushing really hard because we wanted to dedicate this result to Ove Andersson, who has done so much for Toyota Motorsport.” Toyota’s podium was the team’s first since Ralf Schumacher’s third place finish in the 2006 season- opener in Melbourne, Australia, and was praised by Toyota Motorsport President John Howett. “This is a fantastic day for everyone involved with Toyota Motorsport. It was our first podium for a long time, so we dedicate it to Over Andersson, who did so much for the team and will be greatly missed. “Jarno did a phenomenal job, [but] of course we must now keep pushing really hard because our pace is still not matching the front-runners but we can be hugely satisfied with this result.” Trulli’s podium moves Toyota to within a point of fourth- placed Red Bull Racing in the constructors’ championship. Trulli dedicates podium to Andersson 27