Renault number one driver Robert Kubica has qualified sixth for the European Grand Prix at Valencia in Spain and he reckons it reflects the team's 'true position' in the F1 2010 pecking order.
Kubica looked like he might qualify on one of the front two rows early on, and in Q1 he was quickest on a 1 minute 38.132 seconds. He then maintained that form in Q2 and was fourth.
However in the top-ten shoot-out he slipped down to sixth, nothing that his Renault R30 just didn't feel as good on the softer of two the Bridgestone tyres.
“It has been a pretty good qualifying and the car was especially strong on the prime tyre,” Kubica said. “On the options I had a lot more movement though so the car felt quite different and we didn't really gain the lap time, but we made a decision that it would be better to start the race on the options.
“Although I finished higher in the first two parts of qualifying, I think the end result reflects our true position. The new updates on the car this weekend are bringing us some gains, but we still need to work to get 100 per cent from them, which I hope we can do now in the coming races.”
Vitaly Petrov meanwhile also went well in the sister car and for only the second time this year he made it into Q3. He will start tenth, his best lap in the final session a 1m 38.523s.
“It's fantastic to get into Q3 because the times were very close today,” noted the F1 2010 rookie. “Unfortunately I made some mistakes on my fastest lap in Q3 so I could maybe have been even higher on the grid.
“In the race anything can happen so I will try and look after my tyres and make up some positions. There are a lot of new parts on the car this weekend and I have had to adapt my driving style, but I can feel a big improvement with the car.”
Renault team principal Eric Boullier added: “It's always good to see both cars in Q3 because it's not something we have managed that often this season.
“After Q1 and Q2 we were expecting an even better result in Q3, but we didn't find the performance that we expected with the soft tyres. For the race tomorrow we have a good strategy and hopefully we can get both cars in the points and make up some ground on Mercedes.”