Giancarlo Fisichella was left ruing a below-par final effort in qualifying for today's Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, after the Italian had proven to be a regular fixture inside the top five throughout practice around the demanding Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

The Renault ace will begin from ninth spot on the grid, more than one-and-a-half seconds shy of pole position, despite setting the fifth-quickest time in Q1. He remains convinced, however, of his ability to secure a good result in the race, on a circuit where he has invariably shone in years gone-by.

"I have had a great weekend so far," he stated, "which makes it even more unfortunate that I didn't have a very good last lap in the third part of qualifying. The car felt really strong in Q2 and I still had some lap-time left in hand, so I was feeling very confident of a strong starting position. On my final timed lap I made a mistake in turn six, and when I was pushing really hard to try and make the time back up I lost the car again in turns ten and 13.

"We were expecting to start from higher up the grid than P9, but I think we can stay positive. The car is very competitive on the harder tyre, which is likely to be the main race tyre for most of the teams, and I think we have a very strong pace. I am confident I can turn the situation around in the race."

The R?gie's Executive Director of Engineering, Pat Symonds, was also philosophical about the squad's starting positions for the grand prix, and hopeful Fisichella's race pace would be more representative of the French outfit's true form.

"Giancarlo has had an extremely good weekend," the Englishman stressed. "He has looked competitive through every session, so ultimately his final qualifying position of P9 is a bit disappointing. Several small mistakes on his final timed lap meant he failed to improve his time and put paid to his chances of a better starting position, however bearing in mind his pace in the other sessions he should still have a good race."



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