Renault Sport Formula One Team experienced a scorching hot Hockenheimring for the first day of the Emirates Grosser Preis von Deutschland, with track temperatures over 50°C adding to the challenges of the day.
Nico Hülkenberg ended Friday as the team’s quicker driver, setting a 1min 14.496secs lap of the 4.57km circuit, the ninth-fastest time in FP2. Carlos Sainz missed some of the morning session due to a coolant leak, and ended the day just a tenth of a second off Nico.
Alan Permane, Sporting Director - Technical programme notes
• In FP1, Nico assessed a new generation front wing, conducting back-to-back comparisons and running with aero rakes for his initial runs, exclusively using Pirelli’s Ultrasoft (purple) tyres for the session.
• Carlos also only used Ultrasoft tyres for his FP1, which included the assessment of an updated chassis wing. A coolant leak, requiring diagnosis and rectification curtailed his run plan.
• In FP2, Nico continued with front wing assessments whilst both drivers worked on tyre performance assessments. Nico used the Soft (yellow) and Ultrasoft whilst Carlos used the Medium (white) and Ultrasoft.
What we learned today:
• Today’s hot conditions meant tyre management was key.
Nico Hülkenberg, #27, R.S.18-02
Free practice 1: P10, 1:15.282, 32 laps
Free practice 2: P9, 1:14.496, 31 laps
Nico: “Quite a standard Friday for me. The car didn’t feel too bad out of the box, even if you could really tell that the tyres were suffering with these very hot conditions. It’s mainly been a case of refining the set-up today and we made progress, with more to come after we’ve looked at the figures this evening. We’re looking at how to maximise the new front wing as obviously every bit of pace and balance helps.”
Carlos Sainz, #55, R.S.18-03
Free practice 1: P14, 1:15.769, 10 laps
Free practice 2: P12, 1:14.592, 43 laps
Carlos: “It was frustrating to miss most of FP1, but my crew did a great job to find and fix the issue so I could get a great number of laps in FP2. The car doesn’t feel bad and our pace looked good on the long run. Nico tried the new front wing and it seems to be working. I will try it tomorrow and together with some fine tuning I hope we can be back in the top ten.”
Bob Bell, Chief Technical Officer: “Today wasn’t as slick a day as we wanted, but we completed enough of our programme to make well-informed decisions for the rest of the weekend. We saw a small coolant leak on Carlos’ car in the morning, then Nico flat-spotted his Soft tyres in the afternoon, meaning that neither driver completed their full programmes today. We’re yet to make a conclusive decision on the new front wing, but the initial impression is that it’s doing what is required of it. We completed a good number of long runs in today’s hot conditions, but we’re mindful that it could well be rather cooler on Sunday.”