The Renault drivers will start the Japanese Grand Prix from 17th and 18th on the grid if qualifying cannot be run on Sunday morning.
Qualifying has been postponed to 10am local time on Sunday due to the threat from Super Typhoon Hagibis. But with the race due to start just over four hours later, the organisers only have a narrow window to run the session in.
While most teams ensured they set quick times early in second practice, Renault left their runs on soft tyres until the end of the session. Chester admitted this made it difficult for their drivers to get a clean lap in.
“Our pace on the long runs is actually looking pretty good,” he said, “but we weren’t able to show our speed on the low fuel runs at the end of the session.
“We got stuck in traffic around others who were on long runs, so ended up monkeying around a little bit.”
Daniel Ricciardo was the quicker of the team’s two drivers in 17th place.
“We obviously expected to be further up and I think we have a car to be further up,” he said. “But we got a little bit out of sync at the end there trying to get the laps in when others were on their long runs and I was just caught up in a queue.
“Otherwise I think generally the afternoon was better. The morning wasn’t that strong, I wasn’t too too comfortable with everything and with the car and I felt we were quite a bit off so we did make progress this afternoon.”
Ricciardo admitted he is concerned about having to start the race from the ninth row of the grid. “Hopefully the weather is good enough on Sunday morning to qualify, that’s the main thing, and then we can an obviously race. If it’s not then we start 17th and 18th but we’re not gonna think about that.”
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