Hulkenberg rues fuel issue as Sainz maintains home record

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Renault Sport F1 Team RS18.
© XPB 

Carlos Sainz has never been out-qualified by team mate at his home Grand Prix in Barcelona, and to his relief that record will stand for at least another year.

He will start tomorrow's race from ninth place on the grid, after making it all the way through to the final top-ten pole shoot-out round. In contrast, Hulkenberg was eliminated at the end of Q1 and will line up in 16th.

However, it wasn't the German driver's fault, as Renault's sporting director Alan Permane was quick to confirm.

"Nico had a fuel system problem," he explained. "He wasn’t able to put a lap together because of the fuel pressure drop outs.

"That’s something we’ll address [before the race]," he added. "We need to see what we can do for Nico with a free tyre choice and plenty of tyres in hand. It’s still possible for a good result for him."

Hulkenberg himself was understandably disappointed with how qualifying had gone at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. But he was equally determined to bounce back in the race by any means possible.

“We had some problems with the fuel system causing the pressure to drop which impacted on power delivery," he explained.

"This was very unexpected and we’ll be looking into why it’s happened.

"It will make our day tomorrow more difficult as we know overtaking is very tough around here," he admitted. "We’ll have to work out a strategy and hopefully come through it.

"We’re still aiming to clinch points - we’ll try our best and race hard.”

As for Sainz, he indicated that he probably had the speed today to beat his team mate even without the fuel system glitches.

"It's been a good day," he said. "Not so much regarding Nico, but regarding my own performance.

"The step forward that we've made since yesterday, we've gone massively quicker than yesterday. We've gained something like two seconds on performance.

"We’ve turned things around well since yesterday and the team has done a great job putting a much better and quicker car together.

"Yesterday we knew making Q3 was going to be very tough, but we worked hard, made changes and improved a lot," he said. "It's a huge step, and well done to all the team for turning things around.

"Tomorrow I’m confident we can have a strong race," he added. "It's going to be a good day.

"Hopefully we are both in the top ten and fighting for bigger things," he said. "I’m looking forward to putting up a good show for my home crowd!”

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