Renault Sport Formula One Team will start tomorrow's Italian Grand Prix inside the top ten following a strong team qualifying performance at the Autodromo di Monza.
Carlos Sainz, who celebrates his 24th birthday today, will start from seventh position. Nico Hulkenberg eased into Q2 but, with his Spa and engine penalties applied, lines up on the back row. The 53-lap race starts at 15:10 local time tomorrow.
Nico Hulkenberg: "We knew that the penalties were coming so we didn't do much running in Q2. The starting position gives some flexibility for tyre choice and how you run the compounds, but we need to be realistic - it's not going to be easy. The midfield was extremely tight today and overtaking, while not impossible here, is also not straightforward. I just want to have a clean race tomorrow and try to make up as many places as we can."
Carlos Sainz: "That's a more than good enough birthday present! I'm very happy with that. We changed the rear wing before qualifying so we went into the session a little bit in the unknown. We had good pace straight away, playing a bit with the slipstream to get the most from the higher downforce rear wing. I felt much more comfortable in the car today and the strategy in Q3 was perfect. We've turned it upside down since Spa to find more performance, so today is a pleasing end result. The team have worked really hard and we're in a good position to fight for points tomorrow."
One car inside the top ten for the Italian Grand Prix; are you satisfied with that result?
Alan Permane, Sporting Director: We're very happy with the result today. It is particularly satisfying here, which we didn't feel would be one of our strongest tracks. We actually had a very, very strong qualifying, with both cars comfortably through Q1. We obviously had it in mind that Nico would take penalties, so it was not necessary to run much in Q2, but he helped us on Carlos's side of the garage by giving a tow down the main straight. He did a great job to play the team game. Honestly, however, Carlos had the pace today.
How does the result today set you up for tomorrow?
AP: Both cars are working well and we are optimistic of a good day tomorrow. It will be a tough race for Nico with his starting position, but the car is performing and you never know; we will try everything we can to move him up. For Carlos there's every chance he can get a very decent haul of points so we are looking forward to the race.