Renault Sport Formula One Team‘s Nico Hulkenberg feels gutted that he missed out on fifth place on the grid for the Bahrain Grand Prix, after setting an impressive lap time in Qualifying 2 that he couldn’t repeat in the final phase of Qualifying on Saturday.
The Renault driver will start the race tomorrow in seventh place behind Pierre Gasly and Kevin Magnussen but he did beat team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr., who will line-up in tenth place.
The German set a 1:29.187s during the second qualifying session, which would have been enough to place him ahead of both Gasly and Magnussen, which would have been fifth on the grid after Lewis Hamilton‘s penalty.
However, Hulkenberg couldn’t feel the same rhythm in the final session and missed out, setting a time near half a second slower than his Q2 time, and speaking after the session, the German said the lap in Q2 was ‘wonderful’ but admits it slipped out of their hands.
“I would prefer to be fifth, but in Q3 things seemed to slip from our hands a little.” said Hulkenberg. “My Q2 lap was wonderful, it was as good as it was going to get, but in Q3 it didn’t feel quite there.
“I couldn’t repeat the lap time otherwise we’d be in fifth.”
Despite the chance of a great grid position lost, Hulkenberg says the team’s race pace is close to their competitors and a chance for a good result during the race tomorrow.
“I think we’ll start seventh and we have every chance for a good result from there tomorrow,” Hulkenberg continued. “Our race-pace was similar to our rivals, but our target is to beat them.”