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Renault's confirms progress, but drivers wanted more...

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Renault put both its drivers in the top-10 in qualifying in Melbourne but Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz feel a slightly better result was in the cards.

The French outfit is expected to deliver a step up in performance this year and enjoyed a good start to its 2018 campaign with a trouble-free qualifying session.

Hulkenberg clocked in Saturday afternoon with the ninth fastest time, just ahead of his team mate, but will launch his race on Sunday two spots higher thanks to Daniel Ricciardo's grid penalty and Valtteri Bottas' painful Q3 wipe-out.

"Given that I wasn’t feeling especially happy with the car I’m pretty happy with my qualifying position today," said the German.

"The whole of qualifying was tricky for me and in particular my Q3 lap wasn’t as good as it could have been.

"We changed the car quite a bit after yesterday and the wet FP3 meant we didn’t have as much time as we’d like to validate these changes.

"It’s a close field out there so there will be plenty to do in the race."

Sainz will line up P9 but the Spaniard felt there was more to extract from his R.S.18 which appeared to lose a bit of pace between Q2 and the final segment of qualifying.

"We expected both cars to be in the top ten and we achieved this today, which confirms the good progress of the whole team", said Sainz.

"I had hoped to be a little bit higher than this, however the lap time didn’t come. I’ll take a good look at that today with my engineers.

"For tomorrow, I’m convinced we can move forward. It’s going to be tight but we have a good car and a good chance to battle with the cars around us.

"I’m confident we can put together a competitive race!"

Renault sporting director Alan Permane confirmed the drop-off in pace in qualifying - at least in Sainz's case.

"We’re happy with today’s result but left wondering if better was possible after looking at our Q2 pace," said the Brit.

"'In Q3 we couldn’t quite get the tyres into the sweet spot with either car but overall it was a trouble-free qualifying session for us

"It’s the first race of the season so we’ll be wary on the first lap and try to stay out of trouble, then we need to take the fight to our rivals and see what we can do strategically to get in front of them.

"Our cars look evenly matched in qualifying trim and we were happy with our long run pace from P2 so moving up the field is the target for tomorrow."

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