Renault Hoping for more

One of the possible surprises of the weekend could have been Renault’s performance if they had managed to carry Free Practice results to Qualifying. Sadly that was not the case. During Saturday’s Free Practice session three, Renault driver Robert Kubica put on an impressive display.

While FP3 found Robert Kubica stealing fastest lap with a 1:19, the results didn’t translate to qualifying leaving the team with some head-scratching questions. Regardless of the lack of wet-weather pace, Kubica felt they hadn’t left much on the table:

We made the right choices with the tyres in the final part of the session, but when I completed my quickest lap on the slicks, I was happy just to have made it round without any mistakes because I was struggling to keep the car on the track. It was hard to get enough temperature into the tyres and our downforce level for the dry probably didn’t help in this respect – but it’s always easy to see what you could have done better after the session. We made the right calls today and it wasn’t quite enough, but I’m still hopeful that we can have a good race tomorrow.

Kubica wasn’t alone in the tire temperature issue with Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld complaining of a bungled Sauber strategy and lack of heat in the tiers contributing to his poor 16th place qualifying effort. All things given, Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer, also had a nagging feeling that there was something more to be gained:

We’re very pleased to get both cars into the final part of qualifying and congratulations to Vitaly for putting together a solid session. If I’m honest, we’d hoped for a little bit more after our performance in the early stages of qualifying, but seventh is a still a decent starting position for Robert. We know we have a strong car for the race and hopefully we can score good points with both drivers tomorrow.

At least Kubica’s teammate recovered from an earlier practice shunt in FP1 and made a good showing during qualifying. That beats the teammate criticism over at Force India but that’s another story.

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