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Abu Dhabi GP: Qualifying notes - Renault

NEWS STORY
12/11/2011

Day two at the Yas Marina Circuit saw a disappointing performance from LRGP. Despite their best efforts, Vitaly and Bruno could not get into Q3 and only secured P12 and P14 respectively on tomorrow's grid.

In FP3, using Pirelli's soft tyre, Bruno clocked in with a time of 1min 41.509secs (P11) and Vitaly with a time of 1min 41.594secs (P14). Despite posting improved times in Q2, both drivers found themselves off the pace and too far out of reach to compete for a place in Q3.

Bruno Senna: "I'm disappointed because I made a mistake on my last lap and lost a lot of time. It was a gamble to go for one flying lap, and unfortunately I could not get into the position I wanted to be; I really feel I could have made P11. At least the sets of tyres have only done one lap each, which should be a good thing for the race tomorrow. Let's hope my below par qualifying position doesn't harm me too much tomorrow. I'm looking forward to the race, it's an exciting place to race and I will be giving it my best shot."

Vitaly Petrov: "We had a difficult start to the weekend, with a few mechanical problems yesterday (steering rack then an electrical component). From there on we were up against it, especially at a track where we are not expected to be high flyers. To be frank, today we took the absolute maximum from our car. We couldn't have expected any miracles, and I am generally happy with P12 on the grid because I know that both I and the team did all that we could do; setting a competitive lap time at this circuit is tough. Tomorrow will be a demanding day for us; people have said that the tyre degradation will be lower than at many tracks but I'm not so sure - I think it will play a significant role. The race will be long, and we will have to select the right tactics to ensure we come away from this weekend with something positive.

How would you rate today's performance?
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: We always knew this weekend would be a bit of a struggle if you look at our car and this track. This season, we haven't performed well on tracks with predominantly low speed corners. We felt we would be strong to be just outside the top 10 and that's just where we ended up. We could have been 11th and 12th but I don't think Q3 was possible for us today.

In his flying lap in Q2 Bruno made a small mistake - how much did that cost him?
AP: Bruno made a small error during the flying lap in Q2 and he could have been very, very close to Vitaly. However, I think you get that up and down the entire field; everyone could have eked out a little extra so I don't think we can look too much into that.

How much of a factor was the drop in temperature between FP3 and qualifying?
AP: It's fairly typical here that it cools down as you run through the day. We anticipated that, and elected to do three-lap runs on our soft tyres in Q2. I think that was the right thing to do because the third laps were quicker. Bruno felt he could do it on one lap and he was able to warm the tyres a little bit better than Vitaly.

What hopes do you have for tomorrow?
AP: It will be a tricky race but we will do our best to score points. We will have to look at things tonight to see how we can extract the maximum from what could be a difficult day for us. Quite simply, we are where we are because of our pace. We need a slice of luck or some help with some people not finishing, but what we need to focus on is having as strong a race as possible, and the rest will take care of itself.

Check out our Abu Dhabi qualifying gallery, here.

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