Renault Sport Formula One Team ran a three-driver set-up for the opening day of the Formula 1 Malaysia Grand Prix with race drivers Jolyon Palmer and Nico Hülkenberg joined by Third and Reserve driver Sergey Sirotkin on track. Sergey ran in Nico’s car in the wet morning session, he managed to complete ten laps and post the tenth-fastest time. Nico reclaimed his cockpit for the dry afternoon session and recorded the ninth-fastest lap. Jolyon had a smooth day, finishing eleventh in both sessions.
Alan Permane, Sporting Director - Technical programme notes
• In FP1, Jolyon and Sergey used Pirelli’s Wet (blue) Intermediate (green) tyres.
• In FP2 both Nico and Jolyon ran the Soft (yellow) and Supersoft (red) tyres.
What we learned today :
• It’s about car balance in Malaysia.
Sergey Sirotkin, #46 R.S.17-04
Free practice 1 : P10, 1:53.521, 10 laps
Sergey : “Overall I’m quite happy with today’s session. Our programme was somewhat compromised by the heavy rain at the start but as soon as the car was out, I was able to quickly adapt to the conditions. I hadn’t driven on a wet track in a while and it was a first for me in a current car, it was nice to get some experience in. I feel we were able to get some good runs, had a good rhythm and we were able to get good information in wet conditions which could help over the course of the weekend.”
Nico Hülkenberg, #27, R.S.17-04
Free practice 2 : P9, 1:33.060, 24 laps
Nico : “The afternoon session was ok ; we were trying to learn as much as we can in a short amount of time. We weren’t able to get that many laps in and obviously the red flag cost us a bit of time as well. We have some work to do on balance overnight but we’ll get there for tomorrow.”
Jolyon Palmer, #30, R.S.17-03
Free practice 1 : P11, 1:53.625, 10 laps
Free practice 2 : P11, 1:33.381, 26 laps
Jolyon : “I’m quite happy with what we accomplished today. I think we are in a reasonable place but we definitively have some work to do on the car - but that’s somewhat encouraging because the pace wasn’t so bad. We need focus on balance with the Wet tyres, we’ll work on it and I’m sure we’ll get them working for us.”
Nick Chester, Chassis Technical Director : “Due to the wet conditions in FP1, we couldn’t run our dry program but we did complete long runs with both cars on intermediate tyres. Sergey did a good job and was reasonably quick on the intermediate tyres. Both Sergey and Jo gave us our first look in wet conditions and that will be helpful should we get a wet track this weekend. During the dry afternoon session, we were able to run our planned FP2 programme. The car was better balanced on the super soft tyres than the soft tyres and we will work on setup overnight to improve balance on both tyres for FP3. The car was competitive in FP2 and we are looking forward to tomorrow whether it is wet or dry.”