Nick Heidfeld expressed surprise at being two seconds slower than pace-setter Fernando Alonso in free practice for the Monaco Grand Prix on Thursday.
The German, who ended the day 10th fastest, one place higher than his Renault teammate Vitaly Petrov, admitted after the two 90-minute sessions that he had expected the R31 to be more competitive on the twisty street circuit.
"I am [surprised] because coming here the team thought that we would be able to fight at the front and although we will still try to do that I can't see where we should find two seconds," he told AUTOSPORT. "Everything was in the normal window for the P1 and P2 sessions so there is hope for improvement, but it is the same for the others. It's not like I'm saying say 'Oh today was a disaster, on Saturday we will easily find a second or so'."
Heidfeld added that it was too early to draw any specific conclusions over form and that Renault was still assessing its strategic options with the super-soft tires this weekend.
"It is too early to say because we still have to analyze the data from today to see what strategies we might use or what possibilities there are, because it is the first time we are using the super-soft tires and at the moment we really don't know," said Heidfeld.