Carlos Sainz was eighth-fastest on his Renault Sport Formula One Team qualifying debut at the Circuit of the Americas today whilst Nico Hülkenberg was ninth fastest in Q1, but sat out the rest of the session for strategic reasons in Austin for the United States Grand Prix. Due to various penalties through the field, Carlos is expected to start from P7 on the grid and Nico P19 tomorrow.
Nico Hülkenberg, #27, R.S.17-04, Q: P15 [starts P19] 1:35.740 FP3: P7 1:35.608
“We have a twenty-place grid penalty for the race, so regardless of where I qualified, I’ll be at the back of the grid tomorrow. We opted to have flexibility on strategy as we can choose our starting tyres, and this also saves car and engine mileage through not running to the end of the session. The car felt competitive today, as we saw by my being in the top ten with a single Q1 run. It’s a track where you can overtake, so tomorrow has interesting possibilities. I’m looking forward to a good bit of racing.”
Carlos Sainz, #55, R.S.17-03, Q: P8 [starts P7] 1:34.852 FP3: P8 1:35.650
“There’s been a lot to adapt to over this weekend but I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve been able to achieve; it’s not a bad effort for our first qualifying together! It wasn’t the easiest session with the changes in temperature and with the wind as I didn’t know how the car would react to this, but we did a good job so I’m very happy. Coming to a new team late in the season was always going to be a challenge, but everyone at the team and back in the factory has made things very easy for me. I’m looking for a clean race tomorrow. There’s more speed in the car and in me as I adapt further, so to finish in the top ten higher than where I start is the target.”
Alan Permane, Sporting Director
We’ve made a step forward this weekend.
How was qualifying for the team?
“Qualifying was a little bittersweet today. First, congratulations to Carlos; he is having a fantastic first weekend so far. He went comfortably into Q3 and had a good lap for P8. Carlos will start seventh with Max Verstappen’s penalty. For Nico, we specifically elected to do one run in Q1 as his penalties mean he would start from the back regardless and avoiding Q3 means a free choice on starting tyres tomorrow. We are optimistic for both drivers to get into the points on Sunday. The car is working very well here; we made some decent aero progress on Friday and we feel we’ve made a step forward with the car this weekend.”