Fernando Alonso was visibly disappointed with his showing in front of his home fans after crashing out of Q2 at Valencia.
The Spaniard had a set a searing pace in the opening knock-out session and was looking in good shape to take the fight to the front runners, but a costly mistake on the exit of the swing bridge was enough to drop him to P12 for the race.
“I am understandably disappointed with the qualifying session because I had other hopes for today,” he said. “The race tomorrow will therefore be more difficult, but, as we are on a street course, anything is possible in the race.”
“We must continue working hard this evening to try and work out the best strategy that will allow us to be ready for all eventualities tomorrow, such as a safety car period, which seems quite likely.”
Nelson Piquet in the sister R28 was also knocked out of Q2.
“I am disappointed with my qualifying, and I could probably have set a better time this afternoon.”
“I don’t think our result shows our true pace because Fernando also failed to reach Q3 when we both had the potential. I will now work with my engineers and prepare for an aggressive race to move up through the field tomorrow.”
Renault senior management were left with glum faces after an impressive run of form before the summer break.
“Considering all the preparation involved for this new circuit, it’s very disappointing not to have any of our cars in the final part of qualifying,” said Pat Symonds.
“I am sure we had the potential to do so, but potential is not an ultimate result. However, I’m sure it will be an interesting race tomorrow. In the event here several weeks ago, we saw that the safety car can play an important role, and we will think hard about our strategy to try to make the most of our situation.”
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations added: “Our position at the end of qualifying is disappointing, especially as we thought we had done some good work yesterday and seen some encouraging results.
But all is not lost and we will try and develop a strong strategy that will allow us to make the most of grid positions.”