Despite qualifying a surprise third-fastest for the Belgian Grand Prix, Renault's Robert Kubica has admitted that it is unlikely that he can challenge front row pairing Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton for victory.
The Pole made full use of Renault's new F-duct development to feature in the top six throughout qualifying, and briefly held pole position before being usurped Webber at the end of the opening runs. He was then subsequently bumped by Hamilton on the final lap of the afternoon, but was delighted to have been competitive enough to post his best qualifying result since joining Webber on the front row at Monaco.
"We have been quite competitive in all conditions, and also in qualifying when the track was drying up, mixed conditions," he confirmed, "But we had a bit of a black moment in Q3 when the car just stopped running approaching the last corner, the last chicane on the in-lap, so we knew that we would not be able to do a second attempt as there was no time.
"[After that], I was just praying for rain. There were some drops, but not enough that Lewis managed to set a better lap time. But it is still good for us being back here after introducing the F-duct quite late. Fortunately, it worked pretty well from the first lap [on Friday].
"We are happy to be here, [and] everything can happen, [but] I think Red Bull is out of reach, and also the McLarens are very fast here. We will just try our best. We have seen different condition here and what is important is that we have been in the top five, I think, in all sessions from yesterday to qualifying. [The car] seems a bit more competitive with the F-duct, so we were somehow hoping to repeat our performance from free practice, [but] I think a victory is out of reach.
"However, in racing, anything can happen so, for sure, we will try our best - as we have done all season - and we will try to take the maximum from this weekend."
Despite his disappointment at not being able to keep his place on the front row, Kubica wasn't concerned by the problem which cost him a second shot in final qualifying.
"I think it was some fuel pick-up problem where the car just shut down," he revealed, "I was just able to reach the pit-lane and, at that point, we were saying it was bad luck. Fortunately, the rain came a bit and it turned out to be not such bad luck."