Renault Sport Formula One Team delivered a closely-matched qualifying result for the Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom with Kevin Magnussen setting the seventeenth fastest time, a 1min 38.914, just one position and 0.095secs ahead of Jolyon Palmer with a 1min 39.009secs.
Kevin Magnussen: "It wasn't a brilliant qualifying lap from me and we struggled to get the tyres into their correct operating window, so not a perfect set-up for the car either. FP3 earlier in the day was much better for us as we were able to get a more even balance with the front and rear tyres working well together, however qualifying proved to be more of a challenge. There was more possible from the car if we'd been able to find that sweet spot."
Jolyon Palmer: "Today the car has been really good. I think we've found the problem that's been hurting me the last couple of Grands Prix. We've changed something and it's working well so it's good to be back on track! I'm pleased because I can now demonstrate what I can do as a driver whereas before it was frustrating. We're not super quick as a team but I'm happy with the car and I think we can look forward to a good race tomorrow. Our race pace tends to be better than in qualifying; we should be able to move forward quite quickly, we'll definitely aim to challenge the guys in front of us and take any opportunity on offer."
How was qualifying for the team?
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: Our cars are evenly matched albeit we hoped to be further up the grid. We knew this was a circuit where we'd struggle to deliver outright pace so our qualifying positions are not fantastic. As usual, we will be pushing to deliver more in the race.
How do you feel both drivers delivered?
AP: Kevin wasn't able to find the same balance he had earlier today despite the weather conditions being very similar between FP3 and qualifying. Jolyon was much happier with his car.
What are the considerations for tomorrow's race?
AP: We don't expect many pit stops so when and how well you make your stop becomes all the more crucial as there could be only one opportunity to get it right. We'll be looking at all the strategy permutations overnight as well as watching the weather carefully as today was far cooler than yesterday.
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