SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium (Reuters) - Renault are eying their second points-scoring finish of the campaign at the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix after the team claimed their best result of the year in qualifying on Saturday.
Dane Kevin Magnussen was 12th fastest while team mate Jolyon Palmer of Britain will be 13th on the grid, the first time since the season-opening Australian Grand Prix that Renault have got both cars through to the second phase of the hour-long knockout session.
“There are a lot of unknowns for the race tomorrow as the temperatures are sky-high and tire degradation is worse than expected but we have some advantages,” said Palmer after matching his best qualifying result of the year.
“Everyone in the top-10 is starting on used tires whereas we have a new set in hand.
“I’m now really looking forward to the race and trying to crack the top-10 if we can,” the 25-year-old rookie told reporters.
Palmer qualified in 14th spot but moved up a place because Haas driver Esteban Gutierrez dropped five positions due to a penalty.
Renault have struggled for pace this season on their return to the sport as a fully-fledged manufacturer.
The team are running an outdated car, having bought out the Lotus outfit last year, and Magnussen’s sixth place inMay’s Russian Grand Prix is their only result in the points thus far.
Like Palmer, the 23-year-old is optimistic he can move up the field on Sunday.
“Today we found a lot more pace than expected and that’s a nice surprise,” said Magnussen. “My lap wasn’t even perfect.”
Editing by Tony Jimenez