Renault Sport Formula One Team qualified with both cars in the top ten for the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix with Nico Hülkenberg setting the eighth and Carlos Sainz the tenth fastest time at the Bahrain International Circuit. Nico will start from P7 for tomorrow’s race due to a grid penalty for Lewis Hamilton.
Nico Hülkenberg, #27, R.S.18-02, Q: P8 (will start P7) 1:29.570 FP3: P7 1:31.144
“I would prefer to be fifth, but in Q3 things seemed to slip from our hands a little. 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. I think we’ll start seventh and we have every chance for a good result from there tomorrow. Our race-pace was similar to our rivals, but our target is to beat them.”
Carlos Sainz, #55, R.S.18-01, Q: P10 1:29.986 FP3: P8 1:31.200
“I’ve been chasing car balance the whole weekend and I wasn’t fully comfortable with the car during qualifying, finding it difficult to put a perfect lap together tonight. However, I’ve been happier with the long runs and there are a lot more possibilities during the race, especially with the tyre degradation that we’ve seen at the moment. That opens up a lot more windows so we’ll be ready for it. I’m convinced we can move up the grid tomorrow and have a good one.”
Alan Permane, Sporting Director:
We’re looking at the strategic options…
How was qualifying for the team?
It was relatively straightforward up until Q3, however we weren’t able to extract the expected pace improvement in the final session so that’s something we’re looking at. Overall, the R.S.18 is working very well for the second race running and we’re learning more about it every time.
What are the considerations for tomorrow’s race?
We’re happy with our long-run pace from Friday and it will be a different race to Melbourne in terms of tyre degradation, which will be a lot higher here. We’re looking at the strategic options.