Renault are hoping for a strong race tomorrow after Robert Kubica qualified ninth and rookie Vitaly Petrov managed seventeenth place in his first ever Formula 1 qualifying session.
Kubica thought that he actually had the potential to start higher up the grid, but hopes to gain positions in the race tomorrow. ”The first target for today was to get into Q3, so we can pleased with that part of the qualifying session, but I am actually a bit disappointed to be only ninth on the grid. I did two good laps in Q1 and Q2, but on my lap in the final part of the session I had a big snap oversteer in the hairpin at turn 16 that cost me about four tenths.
On the positive side, we have a clearer picture of where we stand now, and it looks pretty positive when you see the cars around us on the grid: the R30 clearly has good potential. It will be a long, tough race tomorrow but our target has to be to move up the field.”
Vitaly realised that he could have done better on his debut, but enjoyed the experience. “For my first ever qualifying session, this is a normal result, but I really enjoyed today. Our first target was to make Q2 so we achieved this, but we were not very lucky in Q2 and could not continue. Tomorrow is race day and it will be very interesting to see how we do – we will certainly try our best.”
Chief Race Engineer Alan Permane had praise for his new driver and is pleased with the performance of the car. “Vitaly had a solid qualifying session for his first Grand Prix weekend. He went comfortably through Q1, which was good. In Q2, he went into turn 9 a little bit too quick on his final timed lap, so he will start P17 tomorrow.
“As for Robert, he had a solid, untroubled Q1 and Q2 and then went comfortably into Q3, which was what we had hoped for. On his Q3 lap he had a bit of oversteer in turn 16, which cost him quite a bit of time. Overall, we are pleased with the performance of the R30 today and we know that the car works well with high fuel loads and has good straight-line speed. We look forward to a strong race tomorrow.”