Renault number one driver Robert Kubica has said he thinks he got nearly all the potential out of his car today in qualifying for this Sunday's F1 2010 Singapore Grand Prix.
Kubica will start the fifteenth round in the championship from eighth, just 0.150 seconds off Nico Rosberg in P7, although disappointing the gap to the top five was a lot larger, with Mark Webber more than half a second ahead in fifth.
“I think we need to stay realistic at this stage of the season because the top three teams are still pushing very hard to develop their cars, while we only brought a small upgrade here,” Kubica said. “Mercedes and Williams have also been at a very similar pace to us for several races, so we knew we would be fighting in the second half of the top ten today and that meant it was difficult to achieve much more than P8.
“The car is lacking overall grip, and sliding front and rear, but I was quite happy with my lap. Our timing meant we only did one timed lap in Q3, so it was all or nothing, and I think I got nearly all the potential out of the car.”
Team-mate Vitaly Petrov meanwhile failed to make it into the top-ten shoot-out and had to settle for 13th, after he hit the wall and broke the right rear suspension on his Renault R30. He will gain a place on the grid though, as Nico Hulkenberg is due to take a five-place penalty.
“Looking at the times, it would have been possible for me to get into Q3 today,” Petrov noted, “but I made a mistake on my first run in Q2. I had gone through Q1 on the prime tyres, and was pushing hard on the options when I went too deep on braking for turn five, lost control of the car and hit the wall with the right rear wheel.
“The corner was still damp from the rain this afternoon, like it has been most of the weekend, and it just caught me out: it was my mistake. I know that it's going to be a tough race tomorrow, especially because overtaking is so difficult here in Singapore.”
Renault boss, Eric Boullier added: “We endured a frustrating qualifying session this evening. With Robert, our approach to Q3 was too conservative. We didn't feel that there was time to do two runs, which meant everything rested on a single timed lap, and that certainly cost him some lap time – although we cannot hide from the fact that our package does not seem ideally suited to this circuit.
“Vitaly had done a good job this morning to recover from a tricky first day of practice, and it was a shame to see him hit the wall because he had a realistic chance of sneaking into the top ten.”