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GP Week : Issue 30
>>F1singapore Renault baffled by pace RENAULT’S Chief technical Officer Pat Symonds has admitted he was baffled by his team’s race-winning pace in Singapore. Fernando Alonso topped both second and third practice sessions over the weekend, and raced superbly to take his first victory of 2008, his 20th career F1 win. Symonds, however, remained unsure what had made the ultimate difference. “If I knew then it would be the best everywhere, wouldn’t it? Firstly this is a very high downforce circuit and we’ve made steps in that direction. It’s very, very bumpy. If you said what characterises this circuit that no other circuit has, it is bumps. There are lots of circuits with second gear corners, chicanes and change of direction, and the drivers have said the circuit is very bumpy but equally they’ve said all weekend that they’ve been able to use the kerbs better than other people. The car’s riding well and I think they had a lot of mechanical grip. “Fernando just drove superbly, didn’t he? The car was good and he was good.” Symonds also reflected on the irony of the fact that it had been thanks to Nelson Piquet crashing out of the race, that his team-mate Alonso had managed to gain race-winning advantage on track. “I know,”he laughed. “I didn’t actually realise that until someone pointed it out at the end of the race, and I thought ‘Well!’At the time you’re just thinking, ‘Shit! Safety Car’and then someone came up afterwards and said that it was ironic, and it was.” Renault has complained throughout 2008 that its rivals had made steps forward with their engines under the engine freeze, but in Singapore the Renault F1 Team was consistently seen at the top of the circuit’s speed traps. Again, Symonds was fairly mystified. “Yeah, well I don’t know. The sector two speed trap is all about maximum speed and we were quite good there. When I saw that on Friday, I was a bit worried that we were still a bit short on downforce, but we had everything on we could get.” 27