Renault Sport Formula One Team completed the first day of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with both Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz taking turns behind the wheel of the Renault R.S.18.

Nico put in 73 laps in the morning, running reliably to complete his full programme, with a best lap time of 1min 20.547secs. Carlos ran in the afternoon, to a more limited programme due to increasingly inclement weather. He posted 26 laps with a best time of 1min 22.168secs. Today was the R.S.18’s second track appearance, following a promotional filming day on Saturday February 24, also in Barcelona.

Fast Facts:
Track: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain, 4.7km.
Chassis: R.S.18 – 01.
Weather: Cold and colder, afternoon drizzle. Ambient 7°C - 12°C Track 7°C - 16°C.
Programme: Aero runs, lap accumulation.
Laps Completed: 73 Nico; 26 Carlos.
Classification: Nico P4, 1:20.547; Carlos P6, 1:22.168.
Interruptions: Aero-rake removal, inclement weather avoidance.

What’s Next?
Carlos will jump back into the car tomorrow morning, handing over at lunchtime to Nico for afternoon duties.

Nico Hülkenberg:
“It was a satisfying first morning in the car. Our plan today was to get mileage and laps under our belt and we managed to achieve that. It was a solid start with no major issues. I felt good in the car straight away but there are other factors to consider too; the track here has been resurfaced so there are fewer bumps and a lot more grip so it naturally feels a lot better behind the wheel. Certainly, we’re a good step forwards from where we were this time last year, but we have a lot of work to do over the days ahead. We completed every detail of the first day’s morning programme, so that’s credit to the team for all their hard work.”

Carlos Sainz:
“It’s been an encouraging day, if a bit frustrating for me because of the polar weather this afternoon! It was quite tricky out there and that meant I couldn’t get a true feeling in the car. Every time I went out it took a while for the tyres to warm up and therefore I had to be quite cautious. I couldn’t find the limit of the car today, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow and going again; hopefully with some better conditions so I can gather some better feedback. Despite the cold weather here, the effort from everyone has been superb."

Nick Chester, Chassis Technical Director
“These are not ideal conditions for testing, but nevertheless we completed a good tally of laps with the R.S.18 and initial impressions are favourable. Nico had a very strong morning with 73 laps completed. The car was reliable and behaved as expected in regards to design and our simulations. Carlos didn’t get the rub of the weather this afternoon but did get an initial feel for the car. Overall, it’s a solid start.”