Renault will have one car among the top-ten on the grid of its home race on Sunday thanks to Daniel Ricciardo, but team mate Nico Hulkenberg will only start P13 after a mistake in Q2.
Ricciardo enjoyed a consistent session, breezing relatively easily into Q3 but outpaced in the final segment by McLaren’s impressive chargers. Still, the Aussie was satisfied with his afternoon’s performance.
“I’m content with eighth place today; we kept up our recent run of Q3 appearances,” said Ricciardo who indeed qualified among the top-ten for the sixth time in eight races.
“I felt there wasn’t much more lap time left out there and eighth was probably the maximum.
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“I made a mistake on the first Q2 run, so I aborted that and then put the Medium tyre on.
“It was a risk as it was the first time we had run it all weekend. But clearly the team knew it was going to pay off as I managed a good lap to get through to Q3.
“The grid tomorrow is interesting with more or less everyone starting on the Mediums. I’ll target the cars ahead and aim for a good race.”
Hulkenberg kicked off his qualifying with a strong showing in Q1, securing the fourth fastest time, but a mistake in Q2 prevented the German from making the cut.
“Today was about small margins,” said the Hulk.
“We didn’t have a totally smooth Q2, and that’s why we’re outside the top ten.
“Nothing bad happened, my first lap in Q2 on Mediums was good, but on my second lap, which is supposed to be quicker, I lost the back end into turn eight and that was it.
“I’ll aim to race hard tomorrow. Our race pace looked good in practice and we’ll aim to keep it clean. There’s potential for points, and we’ll do everything we can to put the car back in the top ten.”
Renault sporting director Alan Permane reckoned that without his mishap in Q2, Hulkenberg would have joined his team mate in the final shootout.
“We have improved our car a lot since yesterday, but not quite enough to be in front of McLaren,” said the Brit.
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“Nico unfortunately made a mistake on his second run in Q2, but without that he would most likely have been in Q3. It’s a bit of a mixed result but plenty to work with in the race tomorrow.”
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