Renault Sport Formula One Team completed the first ever qualifying session for the European Grand Prix at the Baku City Circuit with Kevin Magnussen the faster of its two drivers by a tiny margin. Kevin set a 1min 466.348secs lap to go just 0.046secs faster than Jolyon Palmer. Both drivers will start on the eleventh row of the grid for tomorrow's 51-lap race.
Kevin Magnussen: "The session was pretty straightforward with the simple factor that we're not fast enough here. In FP3 we realised we didn't have the relative pace with the car even if it was feeling quite good to drive so we tried something different with the set-up. Ultimately, it was good to try and it improved the car in some areas but didn't in others. We knew this season would be tough at some moments, and this is certainly one of them! We have a plan for the future and that's what we're all working for. Yes, today didn't look great but we're learning all the time and this is bringing rewards."
Jolyon Palmer: "The potential is there for a huge amount more but it wasn't to be today. I had a really, really good second run but it had to be aborted due to yellow flags. Unfortunately I made a mistake on my final timed lap which lost me about half a second, and I had no tow over the start/finish line which is worth another few tenths. We could have been a lot quicker. It's a tough track; it's really fun to drive and I've enjoyed it so far. We have it all to do tomorrow so let's see what happens."
How was qualifying for the team?
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: Not great. We came here not knowing what to expect from this fabulous new track and unfortunately we've learnt that its characteristics are very far from what we need to extract the best performance from our car.
What was the approach to qualifying?
AP: In FP3 we identified a couple of different set-ups which both offered positives over a lap so we tried different ones on each car. Unfortunately, although the set-ups differed the result in lap time was essentially the same.
Is there hope for salvation in tomorrow's race?
AP: You never throw in the towel in motorsport and we'll be seeking every possible opportunity. We saw in today's GP2 Series race that there is potential for a race of attrition so we need to ensure we're in it at the end. If we have clean races with both of our cars pushing for every lap there's still potential for a pleasant result.
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