Renault were pleased to see Robert Kubica secure seventh place on tomorrow’s German Grand Prix grid, ahead of both Williams and Mercedes drivers.
However, Vitaly Petrov, who is believed under pressure from the team to get more points finishes and closer to the speed of Kubica, could qualifying only thirteenth.
Kubica has only two Red Bulls, two Ferraris and two McLarens ahead of him on the grid, and realises this is about as high as he can qualify at the moment. “I am reasonably happy to be seventh on the grid and I think that, for now, we have to realise that we could not have qualified any higher than this,” said the Pole. “My lap could have been better, because I was held up by a Red Bull in the final sector, but I don't think it would have changed my position.
“We have had a couple of issues with the car here and in Silverstone, and I have not felt as confident with it, so we know that it's important to keep working to improve the feeling because that will give us more consistency.
“As for tomorrow's race, we saw in Silverstone that anything is possible but we need a good start and a good first lap. We hope that our race pace will be strong, too, but we saw today that the gap to the teams in front is pretty big so I'm expecting a tough afternoon.”
Petrov was over eight tenths slower than Kubica in Q2, but the Russian feels that this gap is largely down to the difference in experience. “It was another tough qualifying session for me,” he said. “The lap times around the top ten were very close and I was still learning how to get the most from the car and the tyres at this track, then trying to put it all together in a single lap.
“In the end, getting it right is a question of experience, and I know that better results will come when I can bring the pieces together – even though I wasn't far from the top ten today.
Eric Boullier, the Renault team principal, was delighted with Kubica’s performance, but didn’t sound quite as enthusiastic about Petrov: “I am pretty pleased with our qualifying performance today, considering that all of the teams ahead of us – and some behind – are running with the F-duct.
“It's good to be the leading team without that system, and particularly nice to have Robert ahead of the two Mercedes – although he could have gone quicker had he not hit traffic on his fastest lap. Of course, our ambitions are greater than P7, but this was a good result today.
“On the other side of the garage, Vitaly didn't quite make the cut for Q3 – but in his defence, the times were very close today and he was just a few tenths away.