Renault's hopes of giving away their world title with a flourish suffered a set back in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos after Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen could only manage 12th and 17th on the grid.

At the end of what has been a frustrating season for the regie, Renault have nonetheless shown promising form in the last few races, particularly in the hands of Kovalainen.

However, while the Finn goes into the final race of his rookie season with the hope of making it nine points finishes in eleven races, a mistake on his final lap during Q1 left him stuck in the drop zone and clutching 17th on the grid.

The second time he has failed to make the second knockout phase this year, Kovalainen can at least take heart from the knowledge that last time he started so far back he went on to finish fourth in Canada.

"I was very disappointed not to make it out of Q1. It was simply my mistake: I went too deep into turn 12, locked the front tyres, got a poor exit and it cost me over six tenths of a second. The grip level was poor compared to this morning, but everybody had to deal with the same conditions.

"We have been in this position before this year, though, and the results afterwards showed us how important it is to never give up. We won't, and we will be pushing hard for everything we can get tomorrow, but it's going to be a tough race."

Fisichella fared better in 12th, although the Italian insists he was pushing as hard as he could on a circuit that was giving up little grip.

"I was right on the limit this afternoon, and I think this was our maximum today. It was hard to do a perfect lap in the slippery, low-grip conditions and it is a shame to miss out on Q3 by such a small margin. I think we will see an interesting race tomorrow, especially when it comes to the tyre behaviour, and hopefully we can find a good strategy to take advantage of this."



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