Robert Kubica was left encouraged by the pace of his Renault in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix after finishing as seventh quickest. The Polish driver, whose team, unlike most of its rivals, has no major updates in Barcelona, believes his showing is a good omen for what can be expected from Renault in the upcoming races as it continues to develop its car.
"Overall it was a good qualifying session for me," said Kubica. "Seventh is a strong place to start and I think I got the maximum from the car. We don't have a big package of updates for this race, so it's encouraging to be ahead of one Ferrari and one Mercedes, which is not what I was expecting.
"I know that it will be a tough race tomorrow and it will be interesting to see how the soft tires cope with the heavy fuel load in the opening laps. I think our race pace will be similar to our qualifying pace, so I'm hopeful of a strong race and scoring some good points tomorrow."
Teammate Vitaly Petrov qualified in 14th position, but will start from 19th after a gearbox change meant he will get a grid penalty. The Russian rookie was thankful to his team after repairing his car in time to qualify following his practice crash.
"It was a very close session today and I only missed out on Q3 by three tenths, which shows that we have improved again this weekend – both myself and the team," Petrov said. "To begin with, it wasn't certain that I would make qualifying after my accident this morning when I ran wide onto the curb and hit some standing water on the approach to Turn 4. So I have to say a big thank you to my mechanics, because they did an excellent job to repair the car in time. I know the race tomorrow will be difficult because it's not easy to overtake here, but anything can happen in the race and I will try my best to move forward."