Renault Sport F1 Team‘s Carlos Sainz Jr. says he feels disappointed as he believed his RS17 was capable of reaching Q3 for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Sainz was ultimately unable to advance into the final qualifying session and will start from twelfth on the grid, which will be especially disappointing as the Spaniard produced promising pace in Free Practice 3, in which he set the ninth fastest time. Team-mate Nico Hulkenberg managed to secure a space in Q3 and will start the race from seventh on the grid.
Reflecting on his performance in qualifying, Sainz says that a poor out lap in Q2 compromised his lap to ensure a spot in the final shoot-out session
“I have to say that from my side it was a bit disappointing in the end, particularly as we felt we had the pace in FP3 and Q1 to make it through to Q3,” said Sainz.
“Unfortunately Q2 was a bit compromised by front tyre warm-up – I had a poor out lap and couldn’t put temperature in the tyres so the fastest lap was not optimum.”
With Renault Sport in the hunt for sixth place in the constructors standings with Scuderia Toro Rosso and Haas F1 Team. Both Sainz and Hulkenberg have the upper hand in terms of grid positions, out qualifying both teams as they aim to close the four-point gap with Toro Rosso going into the final race.
Sainz believes that with the long run pace Renault hold, they can be strong for the race tomorrow and a points finish is a realistic target for tomorrow.
“We have shown we have the pace over the long runs, so tomorrow we are targeting a good race and getting into the points,” said Sainz.
“Nico is in a very good position and it puts the team into a strong place for the race tomorrow, which is very important.”