Renault Sport Formula One Team ended the first qualifying session of the 2018 season with both cars qualifying inside the top ten for the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.
A red-flag interrupted final qualifying session saw Nico Hülkenberg edge Carlos Sainz by a mere 0.045secs to set the eighth fastest time.
Nico Hülkenberg, #27, R.S.18-02, Q: P8 1:23.532 FP3: P18 1:38.482
“Given that I wasn’t feeling especially happy with the car I’m pretty happy with my qualifying position today. The whole of qualifying was tricky for me and in particular my Q3 lap wasn’t as good as it could have been. We changed the car quite a bit after yesterday and the wet FP3 meant we didn’t have as much time as we’d like to validate these changes. It’s a close field out there so there will be plenty to do in the race.”
Carlos Sainz, #55, R.S.18-01, Q: P9 1:23.577 FP3: P5 1:33.172
“We expected both cars to be in the top ten and we achieved this today, which confirms the good progress of the whole team. I had hoped to be a little bit higher than this, however the lap time didn’t come. I’ll take a good look at that today with my engineers. For tomorrow, I’m convinced we can move forward. It’s going to be tight but we have a good car and a good chance to battle with the cars around us. I’m confident we can put together a competitive race!”
Alan Permane, Sporting Director:
We’re happy with today’s result…
How was qualifying for the team?
We’re happy with today’s result but left wondering if better was possible after looking at our Q2 pace. In Q3 we couldn’t quite get the tyres into the sweet spot with either car but overall it was a trouble-free qualifying session for us.
What are the considerations for tomorrow’s race?
It’s the first race of the season so we’ll be wary on the first lap and try to stay out of trouble, then we need to take the fight to our rivals and see what we can do strategically to get in front of them. Our cars look evenly matched in qualifying trim and we were happy with our long run pace from P2 so moving up the field is the target for tomorrow.