Renault Sport Formula One Team’s Nico Hülkenberg has qualified seventh for the Heineken Chinese Grand Prix with a qualifying performance underlying the team’s current potential. Jolyon Palmer set the ninth fastest time in FP3 prior to qualifying, but was caught out by having to slow for yellow flags on his crucial qualifying run in Q1, ending the session with the 18th fastest time. Today’s qualifying result was the first Q3 appearance for Renault Sport Formula One Team.
Nico Hülkenberg, #27, R.S.17-02, Q: P7 1:33.580 FP3: P11 1:35.449
“When we started driving in FP3 I felt immediately positive and happy with the car and its balance. It felt better and more together than in Melbourne, and perhaps this track suits our car a little better too. I think from FP3 to qualifying, we were able to improve the car; I was happy, I was confident and it was a nice surprise when I heard the position over the radio. The forecast says rain for tomorrow, which brings its own challenges, but whatever happens I’ll approach the race open minded and do my best.”
Jolyon Palmer, #30, R.S.17-01, Q: P18 1:35.279 FP3: P9: 1:35.192
“The car felt good today; I was ninth in FP3 so there’s clearly pace. I then had a flat spot on the first run during Q1, which made my second run critical. That lap was going well – to comfortably put me into Q2 – when the yellow flags came out and I had to lift. It’s really frustrating but at least we can see the potential is there. The car feels great but it’s all to do tomorrow.”
Alan Permane, Sporting Director:
Nico extracted the maximum today…
How was qualifying for the team?
We’re happy with Nico’s qualifying position and he extracted pretty much the maximum performance possible with the car in its current configuration with the limited about of running we’ve had here this weekend. It reinforces our belief that we have a good basis for ongoing development. Jolyon had a difficult qualifying session after a promising FP3. He looked to be easily into Q2 before the yellow flags came out. He has it all to do tomorrow.
What are the considerations for tomorrow’s race?
We’re not as well prepared as we’d hope to be, but nor is any team after yesterday’s minimal lap count. We’ve conducted high fuel work on two of the dry tyres today, however the weather forecast does predict a wet race. We’ll adapt to whatever plays out and will be pushing all the way for a strong points haul.