Renault number one driver Robert Kubica was 'disappointed' after failing to make it through to the top-ten shoot-out for the first time this season today in qualifying for Sunday's F1 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Pole had been pretty competitive on Friday in practice and was fifth in both sessions, even if he wasn't completely happy with his R30. However this morning he was only ninth in FP3 and he then missed the cut in Q2 by just 0.122 seconds, his best effort a 1 minute 40.780 seconds, and ironically it was his team-mate, Vitaly Petrov, that was just in front in the sister car.
“I have been struggling with the car since yesterday and we simply didn't manage to get on top of the issues, especially for qualifying,” Kubica lamented. “The rear of the car was sliding a lot this evening, so it was hard to get on the power early enough to set a good lap time.
“I tried everything, I was sideways in a lot of corners, but that's how it was today. It's disappointing to miss out on the top ten, but it's also the first time this year that I have had a free tyre choice for Sunday – and we will have to see if we can make this into an advantage for tomorrow. The season is still not over, and we will try to finish it with some more points.”
Petrov in contrast was pretty happy with his car and was delighted to get into Q3 for only the fifth time this season: “The car has felt pretty good all weekend for me,” Petrov said. “We have made progress in each session, especially with the feel of the brakes, which is very important at this circuit, and it felt like all the parts of the package were working well today.
“I have been running in the top ten most of the weekend, and it was nice to deliver this potential in qualifying. Looking ahead to the race, it will be a very tough one for the tyres, and we need to think carefully about using the right strategy to cope with this.”
“This was not our best qualifying effort of the year,” added Renault's chief race engineer, Alan Permane. “Robert was not comfortable with the car in third practice, and the changes we made before qualifying failed to improve the situation. He was suffering from an overall lack of grip, and this is why he missed out on Q3.
“Vitaly had a reasonable day, qualifying in the top ten for the second race in a row. He was generally happy with the car and has steadily improved throughout the weekend.
"We must aim to get both cars into the points tomorrow, and we are obviously in a position where we can make a free tyre choice with Robert; we will be looking closely at what we think will be best for the race."