Renault’s Robert Kubica qualified a ‘good’ seventh place for the Spanish Grand Prix but teammate Vitaly Petrov missed out on Q3 and qualified 14th.
Kubica was understandably pleased to have qualified ahead of Felipe Massa and Nico Rosberg, and hopes to convert the position into good points in the race: “Overall it was a good qualifying session for me. Seventh is a strong place to start and I think I got the maximum from the car. We don't have a big package of updates for this race so it's encouraging to be ahead of one Ferrari and one Mercedes, which is not what I was expecting.
“I know that it will be a tough race tomorrow and it will be interesting to see how the soft tyres cope with the heavy fuel load in the opening laps. I think our race pace will be similar to our qualifying pace so I'm hopeful of a strong race and scoring some good points tomorrow.”
Vitaly had an accident in Free Practice 3, prompting a mad rush from his mechanics to repair the damage before qualifying began. He was obviously very appreciative of his mechanic’s efforts. “It was a very close session today and I only missed out on Q3 by three tenths, which shows that we have improved again this weekend – both myself and the team.
“To begin with it wasn't certain that I would make qualifying after my accident this morning when I ran wide onto the kerb and hit some standing water on the approach to turn four. So I have to say a big thank you to my mechanics because they did an excellent job to repair the car in time.
“I know the race tomorrow will be difficult because it's not easy to overtake here, but anything can happen in the race and I will try my best to move forward.”
Eric Boullier, Renault team principal, was pleased with Kubica’s performance, and grateful to Petrov’s hard-working engineers: “Robert did an excellent job to qualify in seventh and if somebody had told us before the weekend that we would qualify ahead of a Ferrari and a Mercedes, we would have been very happy. Obviously our expectations are changing with every race and we are now aiming even higher up the grid compared to the start of the season.
“Vitaly was unlucky to get caught out with his accident this morning, which affected his preparation for qualifying. Even so he only missed out on Q3 by three tenths and without losing the track time I'm sure he could have made it into the top ten. So it's encouraging to know that both cars have the potential to make it into Q3. Again I want to say a big thanks to the team for their hard work to get Vitaly's car ready in time for the start of Q1.”