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DATE News (chronologically)
04/26/08
f1
Renault not ready for podium, Alonso warns  (GMM) Fernando Alonso on Saturday played down expectations that he might finish the Spanish grand prix on the podium.

The Spaniard delighted his local supporters at the Circuit de Catalunya by narrowly missing pole position, following a difficult start to the 2008 season with Renault.

But even though Alonso, 26, is fielding an improved R28 package at Barcelona, he all but confirmed paddock speculation that his front-row qualifying berth was achieved with the assistance of a light fuel load.

"We have seen a big improvement in the car," he said. "It is better than in the first races, no doubt."

His high grid position has raised the hopes of his supporters, but Alonso repeated that his goal for Sunday is simply to finish about seventh -- behind the six quicker Ferraris, BMWs and McLarens.

"We are extremely happy with how the weekend went so far but we cannot say to the fans or to anyone that we will be on the podium," he explained.

"Maybe the first row is a bit optimistic, to think that we will go to Turkey and be between the two Ferraris. That's a little bit difficult, we know that," Alonso said.

He reckons the next steps towards the front, where the top five and finally the podium are realistic targets, will be "even harder" than the step taken by Renault since the start of 2008.

"Hopefully we are coming back," he said, "(but) we cannot be confused. We know there are three teams ahead of us at the moment."
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