Nico Hulkenberg missed out on a spot on the third row by a small margin, but the Renault driver was nevertheless satisfied with his P7 final result despite battling the winds at COTA in qualifying.

The German trailed Force India’s Esteban Ocon by just 0.070s at the end of the day, insisting the Saturday afternoon session had been a tricky one to negotiate.

“I’m pretty pleased with a smooth qualifying as we got the potential out of the car,” said the Hulk.

“To be honest it felt quite tough out there in terms of car balance as it’s very windy and you really feel that in the car.

    Verstappen unimpressed with Renault’s ‘same old song’

“The balance changes quite drastically from one corner to another which makes it quite tricky – and it didn’t feel too pretty – but it was the same for all of us trying to produce clean laps,” he added.

“I pushed as hard as I could and I think we were quite successful today.”

Hulkenberg’s Renault team mate just missed out on Q3 by two thousandths, but had Carlos Sainz succeeded in making the Q3 cut he would have pushed the German to P11.

The Spaniard still felt buoyed by the French team’s progress in Austin after its recent series of difficult race weekends.

“Today was encouraging and it’s good news to see we are in the mix again,” said Sainz.

“Unfortunately, I was two thousandths shy from Q3. I accidentally pressed a modifier button on the steering wheel and lost two tenths in the last corner.

“It’s frustrating because that means Q3 was actually within reach. Points are awarded tomorrow, however, so I remain positive.

“It’s usually a great race here as you can follow cars and you can overtake, so there’s potential for a very interesting day tomorrow.”

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