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Renault 'working very well' in Shanghai, as both drivers reach Q3

Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault
© XPB 

Renault were on top form in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix, with both Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz making it into the final round.

Hulkenberg ended up as the 'best of the rest' in Shanghai, following the massed ranks of Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull.

"I’m happy with that!" he said afterwards. "Seventh place again, which is probably the best we could do today.

"We achieved our qualifying mission and that’s a positive.

"I’ve had a good feeling and good rhythm on this track this weekend, and the balance of the car feels fine," he said, before adding: "Tomorrow is a little more challenging."

He will be one of the drivers on the faster but shorter-lived ultrasoft tyres when the lights go out.

"The first stint will likely be on the shorter side for sure," he conceded. "But we have good pace on all compounds, so that makes me optimistic for the race."

His team mate Carlos Sainz will line up immediately behind him on the starting grid in ninth. He too made all his Q2 runs on the purple-walled compound.

"It’s good news to have both cars again in Q3, we did a reasonable job," said the Spanish driver. "We’re still not at one-hundred percent, especially in the slower speed corners, but it doesn’t worry me too much."

Sainz revealed that his strategy for the final round of qualifying had been compromised by events earlier in the session.

"We lost DRS in Q1 with a yellow flag," he explained, recalling the incident when Sauber's Charles Leclerc spun on the front straight. "[It meant I] couldn’t go into Q2 with only one-set of tyres.

"[As a result] I only had one new set of ultras for Q3."

"It was a straightforward session, with the exception of Carlos needing a second Q1 run," contributed Renault's sporting director Alan Permane.

"The car is working very well here and has had a good balance from the first runs of Friday.

"We made small improvements through qualifying, refining the balance with the front wing as the track grip improved over the three sessions. Overall it’s a good result for the team today."

So far the conditions in Shanghai have been windy and chilly. But that could all change for the race.

"Tomorrow we should see the sun again and with it a step in track temperature," noted Pername. "We are prepared for this with our cooling set accordingly and are looking forward to another strong race."

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