Renault Sport Formula One Team drivers Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer will line up on the seventh and tenth rows of the grid for the Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix.
The R.S.16 showed improved relative performance in qualifying at the Sepang International Circuit however neither driver felt they extracted the maximum from their crucial lap.
It was an encouraging session in terms of the pace potential from the car; had Kevin had a perfect lap on his fresh tyres in Q2, P12 was definitely in the offing.
“It’s a very good result for us in qualifying; P14 is much better than usual in terms of setting us up for scoring some points in the race,” Kev said. “But it’s an ambivalent result as I felt so close to Q3 that I couldn’t resist giving it everything I’ve got on my final run; I locked up in turn 1 and lost the lap.”
“I didn’t improve after that so it’s unfortunate. From P14, not a lot has to happen in the top ten for us to get points, which is always the aim. Let’s see tomorrow, hopefully our race pace is as good as qualifying today. You never really know how it will go here, so fingers crossed!”
Unfortunately for teammate Jolyon Palmer, he struggled to get his lap together in Q1 and that was a shame for him as he’s looked strong here for the rest of the weekend.
“I’ll be frank; my lap was pretty far from what it should have been,” admitted Jolyon. “I made the wrong call on set-up between my runs and the lap just didn’t come together. This was particularly frustrating as the pace has looked promising all weekend and there’s definitely better possible from the car here. Tomorrow I’ll be pushing all the way to make amends especially as this is a track where moving up the order is possible.”
Kevin, Jolyon and the team are now focussed on achieving points-scoring results in Sunday afternoon’s race….
“We have 56 laps tomorrow and our long run pace should prove to be advantageous,” explained Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director. “The three tyre compounds here offer many strategy options on this new track surface, which works the tyres very differently from before. We accumulated a lot of data yesterday and today so it will be interesting to see how the race plays out. We’re most certainly looking to move forward and up the order. Points are definitely the target.