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Renault Proud of Piquet

Although Nelson Piquet is yet to score a point this season, Renault's engineering boss Pat Symonds insisted that all the team's officials are proud of the progress made by the Brazilian sophomore during the course of 2009. Having started way behind teammate and 2-time world champion Fernando Alonso in the opening stages of the season, Piquet is now very close to equaling the performances of the Spaniard.

Nelson continues to improve and strengthen as the season unfolds. In Monaco he was very close to Fernando in qualifying and considering the high standard that Fernando sets, I think he can be proud of the work he is doing,” revealed Symonds.

Piquet's poor qualifying performances this season was mainly the result of the fuel strategy picked by his team in the practice sessions. During the course of the first 4 grands prix, Renault have loaded Piquet's car with a considerable amount of fuel during the practice sessions, while picking a low-fuel strategy in qualifying.

The consequences were obvious from as early as race one, as Piquet had a hard time getting used to driving a low-fueled car in qualifying and therefore constantly failed to make it into Q3. Following a change in strategy starting the Spanish GP, his on-track performances started improving, despite constantly running with an under-developed car – as compared to Alonso's, always fitted with new aerodynamic devices.

Bad luck was all Piquet needed for the menu to be completed, something which he experienced in Monaco. While running in a safe 10th place in the early stages of the race, his car was hit from behind by Sebastian Buemi's Toro Rosso STR4, sidelining him for the remainder of the afternoon. Symonds, admitted, however, that Piquet must not worry about being held responsible for that incident.

He was very unfortunate in the race and there was absolutely no blame attached to Nelson,” added the Renault official.
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