Renault’s Ricciardo: “I’m really happy with today’s qualifying”

by Findlay Grant

Renault F1 Team‘s Daniel Ricciardo said he was “really happy” with his and team-mate’s Nico Hulkenberg‘s qualifying performance, ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which will see them start in the top ten for the last race of the season.

Ricciardo set a time of 1:36.456, which put him eighth, while Hülkenberg’s best lap was a 1:36.710, which means he lines up tenth on the grid. Both drivers were able to take advantage of penalties awarded to others.

“I’m really happy with today’s qualifying. It’s cool for both cars to be in Q3. We’ve made a good turnaround from Friday and that’s what I’m most proud about. The jump we made is really strong and encouraging and credit to the team for working hard overnight,” said the Australian.

“It was close out there again today but we’re in the mix inside the top ten. There’s a bit of pressure in the fight for fifth and there’s a job to do. We delivered today and now we have to deliver tomorrow.”

Hülkenberg said he was pleased with his performance throughout all three qualifying sessions, after being slightly behind where they would have liked to be at the start of the weekend.

“We’ll take tenth today. I was pleased with the laps I produced throughout all three sessions. It was a bit tricky at the start, I was chasing the feeling in the car and I did the best I could,” said the German.

He added they were still in a fight for fifth in the Constructors’ Championship, so would try to secure the best result possible in the race to secure their spot on the standings table.

We were on the backfoot a little bit after yesterday, but we recovered well and found some performance overnight and today. It’s positive for the team, with both cars in Q3. I think it’s going to be exciting and tight tomorrow. We’re in a race for fifth and it’s all to play for,” he concluded.

Sporting director Alan Permane said he was very satisfied so far with the team’s performance so far this weekend.

“It was a slick qualifying and everything went perfectly to plan; traffic management, timings, garage turnarounds and driver performance.

“We did our homework and got both the balance and tyre temperatures under control for Free Practice 3 and qualifying. With solid sessions from both drivers and also the race crew in the garage, we can be pleased with that outcome. It’s given us a good basis for the race tomorrow.”

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