Renault Sport Formula One Team’s Nico Hülkenberg has qualified twelfth for the Rolex Australian Grand Prix whilst Jolyon Palmer endured a tough qualifying session with twentieth on the grid his result at Albert Park. Nico set a 1min 24.975secs lap in Q2 and was just tenths shy of making it into the top ten. He earlier set the fifth-fastest time in FP3.

Nico Hülkenberg, #27, R.S.17-02, Q: P12 1:24.975 FP3: P5 1:25.063
“That was a solid first qualifying session with the team. We were just tenths away from Q3 and it was definitely on the cards however I struggled a bit with the balance and grip on my fastest Q2 lap so it wasn’t to be. It is difficult to predict what to expect tomorrow; but what I do know is that the midfield is very competitive. It should be an interesting fight in the race and points are the target.”

Jolyon Palmer, #30, R.S.17-01, Q: P20 1:28.244 FP3: P19: 1:28.320
“Today really didn’t go to plan. I didn’t have any grip and I struggled with the brakes so we need to know what went wrong. Yesterday the car felt much better and was faster on the soft tyres, with a much higher fuel load, so there’s something not quite right. It’s been pretty far from the weekend I wanted to start the season so far, but let’s see what happens in the race.”

Alan Permane, Sporting Director:
It’s clear we’ve made a huge jump over the winter…

How was qualifying for the team?
It was a positive first qualifying session with the R.S.17 although it’s frustrating not to make Q3 as the pace was there. Nico did a great job and has shown that we are where we wanted to be, in the midfield and very close to Williams, Toro Rosso and Haas, so we expect a good fight tomorrow. It’s clear we’ve made a huge jump over the winter and we’ve got a lot more to come from the car. There’s frustration for Jo and we will have a close look at the data and his car ahead of the race as he’s clearly capable of much better things.

What are the considerations for tomorrow’s race?
It will be the first race with these cars to the new regulations so it’s going to be interesting to see how it pans out. Nico starts just shy of the points so his target is clear. Jo has a lot of work to do and we’ve nothing to lose with being ambitious with his strategy.