Renault Sport Formula One Team’s Nico Hülkenberg battled a cool and windy Circuit of the Americas to place seventh on the grid for the Pirelli United States Grand Prix. After a nail-biting dry qualifying session, Carlos Sainz lost out on making it into the top ten by a mere 0.002secs, so will start from P11 on tomorrow’s grid.
Nico Hulkenberg: “I’m pretty pleased with a smooth qualifying as we got the potential out of the car. To be honest it felt quite tough out there in terms of car balance as it’s very windy and you really feel that in the car. The balance changes quite drastically from one corner to another which makes it quite tricky – and it didn’t feel too pretty – but it was the same for all of us trying to produce clean laps. I pushed as hard as I could and I think we were quite successful today.”
Carlos Sainz: “Today was encouraging and it’s good news to see we are in the mix again. Unfortunately, I was two thousandths shy from Q3. I accidentally pressed a modifier button on the steering wheel and lost two tenths in the last corner. It’s frustrating because that means Q3 was actually within reach. Points are awarded tomorrow, however, so I remain positive. It’s usually a great race here as you can follow cars and you can overtake, so there’s potential for a very interesting day tomorrow.”
How was qualifying for the team?
Alan Permane, Sporting Director: It’s good to be back in the top ten, and in the middle of the top ten too with Nico. We’re in front of our main rivals which means we’re well placed for tomorrow. Carlos missed out on the top ten by two thousandths, but had he made it he would have pushed Nico to P11, which illustrates how close it was out there.
What is the outlook for tomorrow’s race?
AP: As we only had limited running on wet tyres on Friday it’s difficult to make too many predictions on race tyre performance as we only have the FP3 data on dry tyres. We’re confident from looking at our pre-race simulations, so with Nico in P7 on the grid and Carlos the leading car with an open tyre choice, we should have all options covered for the race.