R enault is the first candidate for fourth place in the constructors' cup. This is what you simply expect from a factory racing team. But at the moment the top place in the second division belongs to HaasF1. And Renault customer McLaren sits dangerously close to the works team in the exhaust. That is why the sigh of relief was audible in the yellow camp when both drivers qualified for the top ten. Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz were able to say, despite starting positions 7 and 9: There would have been more possible.
For Carlos Sainz, the weekend up to Q3 went perfectly. The Spaniard mostly ranked ahead of Nico Hulkenberg. And then, of all things, it didn't fit in the most important lap of the whole weekend. Sainz missed his Q2 time by half a second. Had he equalized the lap of 1.23.061 minutes, the Spaniard would have been in front of the two HaasF1. “I honestly don't know where I lost the time. And that's the worst part of it. A tenth here, a tenth there. But that doesn't mean half a second, ”said Sainz, looking back with a crying eye.
Somehow the vigor from before was missing in the last section of Q3, said Sainz. “The 20-minute break after the Bottas accident threw me out of my rhythm. And because of too much traffic, I couldn't warm up the tires optimally for the fast lap. I lacked confidence in the grip in the first corner. I didn't want to end up where Bottas landed. ”However, according to Sainz, the overall picture is positive:“ It is a good sign that we made two cars into the top ten. But we cannot rest in our position. HaasF1 is strong, McLaren close. And on the tracks with longer straights, Williams and Force India will also be there again. ”
Hülkenberg's car radically rebuilt
Nico Hülkenberg only unpacked the hammer on his very last lap. The German struggled throughout Friday with the balance of his car, which alternately fell from understeer to oversteer. Renault then radically rebuilt the R.S. 18 with starting number 27 for Saturday. “The balance got better, but it was still not optimal,” reported Hülkenberg. This was also due to the fact that the wet track in the third session hardly left any opportunities to try out the new setup under real conditions. “After all, we know where we have to start to improve the car.”
Then the tall Rhinelander threw another one in Q2Set of tires gone when he braked himself in the first corner and sled through the gravel bed. “Then I only had one ball in the barrel to advance. The lap was quite good, certainly better than the one in Q3. In view of the circumstances, I have to be satisfied with the result. ”The fact that he put his team-mate in their place with 45 thousandths put a smile on Hülkenberg's face. But not the gap to the top. Lewis Hamilton was 2.4 seconds short. Renault actually wanted to close the gap to the top. The Renault driver actually didn't want to comment on the top 3, but then said: “I don't even look at it anymore. They are so far away that you only get a throat if you deal with them too much. ”