Having shown plenty of promise in free practice, Renault found themselves cursing the weather gods for their performance in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix, both Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen missing the top ten cut.

Suffering in the tricky conditions, both drivers claim the R27 lacked grip in the tricky conditions and as a result weren't able to react when it began to drizzle again in the latter stages of the second knockout phase.

Although both drivers managed to improve slightly, neither would be able to make it into the top ten shootout. They will however benefit from Nico Rosberg's penalty to rise a place each to 10th and 11th.

Furthermore, it means Fisichella and Kovalainen get to choose their fuel levels for the race, something that leaves both confident they will be able to challenge for points.

"It was a very tough qualifying session for me," the Italian said. "The car's grip level was not great, but I could probably still have made it through if I had changed to my second set of tyres a lap earlier.

"But the main problem was the pace of the car in this configuration, which was not quite strong enough today. Tomorrow is another day though, and we have already moved up a position thanks to Rosberg's penalty. If the conditions develop in the right way, I think we can have a strong race."

Kovalainen will start a place further back in 11th and, like Fisichella, is hoping it will not rain in the race.

"The balance of the car was pretty good, and I did some good clean laps in difficult conditions, but the grip just wasn't there: the car was sliding on all four wheels in almost every corner.

"There's not much more to say, because our positions reflected our pace and we were not strong enough to get into the final part of qualifying. However, we know that we made some deliberate choices because the cars are now in parc ferm? until the race, and hopefully they will pay off tomorrow."



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