After limited running in third practice due to heavy rain, Renault Sport Formula One Team wrestled with the incident-strewn qualifying session for the 2016 Formula 1 Pirelli Chinese Grand Prix. Both drivers were eliminated after Q1 with Kevin Magnussen setting the seventeenth time ahead of Jolyon Palmer in nineteenth for tomorrow’s 56-laps race.

Kevin Magnussen, #20, R.S.16-02, Q: P17 1:38.673. FP3: P7 1:59.761
“It’s been a tricky weekend so far here in China; this afternoon was the first time I’d driven the car round the circuit in the dry. I think that I did a decent first qualifying lap and I was able to improve a little bit on my second run. We were so close to being in Q2 today and that is frustrating as I think that we should have been there in under more normal circumstances but this is where we are at the moment. We know that things will only get better and we are aiming to improve step by step. I hope that we can have a good race tomorrow with a solid pace and fight in the midfield. Let’s see, I’ll be going for it.”

Jolyon Palmer, #30, R.S.16-01, Q: P19 1:39.528. FP3: P6 1:59.677 “The car felt ok on the first run but it was still a bit damp and I was quite cautious. The second run was a struggle, with a real lack of grip. I didn’t have such problems yesterday or this morning so we need to try and understand where the loss of performance is coming from between myself and the team. For tomorrow, normally the race pace is a bit better than our qualifying speed but we’re still starting near the back and that makes things challenging.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
Aiming for a better race pace

How was qualifying for the team today?
It was a frustrating qualifying session for the team. The result doesn’t reflect where we want to be – we want to be quicker and further up the grid. We know that improvements will come but it will take time and we need to keep working hard.

How do you feel both drivers delivered?
It was particularly frustrating for Kevin today because of the lack of running he did yesterday, then FP3 was wet this morning. His first dry laps were in qualifying this afternoon. When Jolyon did his qualifying lap, he had a good first sector and was running well until halfway through the second sector when he then felt that the balance of the car wasn’t there. This meant he didn’t set a time good enough to make it through to Q2 unfortunately.

What is achievable in tomorrow’s race?
We have been very close to scoring points in the last couple of races with good strategies and racing better than we qualified so of course our aim will be to get our cars as far as we can and get into the points.

Did this morning’s rainy conditions make it tricky for preparing qualifying?
Certainly for Kevin who hadn’t driven in the dry. It was a real disadvantage for him. Jolyon drove quite a bit in the dry yesterday so it was a matter of preparing the car in case qualifying was going to be wet.

Are the weather predictions any better for race day?
It will be warmer and drier than today.