Renault's Robert Kubica was delighted with his form in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix today and said it was probably his 'best performance of the year from a driving point of view'.
Kubica will start the race at the Shanghai International Circuit from eighth tomorrow, having beaten both record-breaking multiple F1 world champion, Michael Schumacher and Force India's Adrian Sutil in the top-ten shoot-out.
Speaking after Q3, the Pole said he was pretty shocked to do so well, as he hadn't felt overly confident following practice on Friday: "It was good qualifying session for me – probably my best performance this year from a driving point of view, and I was particularly pleased with my laps in Q3," Kubica stated.
"If you had said to me yesterday I would start the race from eighth, I would have been happy, so it's a good result and puts us in a good position to score points in the race."
Team-mate Vitaly Petrov also went pretty well in qualifying and while he didn't make it through to the final part, P14 was still very solid, especially after he crashed out in FP3 this morning.
"I'm pleased with my performance, which is my best result from a dry qualifying session, even if my ultimate objective has to be to make it through to Q3 because Robert has shown this is what the car can do," Petrov added.
"Overall, things are going in the right direction for me: I'm improving my driving and getting more comfortable with the car all the time. I also need to say a big 'thank you' to my mechanics, who did a fantastic job to repair my car in time for qualifying after my accident in free practice."
Renault boss, Eric Boullier and chief race engineer, Alan Permane meanwhile were both happy with P8 and P14 on the grid.
"We were very pleased with the performance of the car, which shows the progress we continue to make as a team. Robert's eighth place is a good result and we are now between the two Mercedes in qualifying, and we can expect even better race pace," Boullier noted.
"As for Vitaly, he did a good job to bounce back from his accident in free practice this morning, which is all part of the learning curve for a driver in only his fourth Grand Prix. He is pushing himself hard, as well as the car, and his performances are improving every weekend. He did well to qualify 14th, which was the strongest performance of the rookies."
"It was a good session from both drivers with Robert solidly into Q3 and Vitaly doing well to qualify 14th," Permane chipped in. "It was satisfying to get ahead of one of the Merecedes with Robert, and eighth is a good position from which to start the race. After Vitaly's crash this morning, the mechanics did a fantastic job to repair the car so that Vitaly could take part in qualifying.
"Overall, it was a good effort from the two drivers and we know that our car works better on high fuel, so we're well placed to aim for points with both Robert and Vitaly tomorrow."