The sound of the Renault Sport Formula One Team reverberated in the Austrian hills as Carlos Sainz was the team’s quicker driver today, setting a time just seven hundredths off the top ten at the Red Bull Ring on the opening day of the Eyetime Grosser Preis von Österreich.
Carlos lapped the 4.3km circuit in 1min 05.999secs, the eleventh-fastest time on a cloudy day visited by occasional light rain. Nico ended both sessions as the fifteenth fastest.
Alan Permane, Sporting Director - Technical programme notes
• In FP1, both drivers ran with Pirelli’s Ultrasoft (purple) tyres, focusing on set-up and aero evaluations.
• Both drivers continued with set-up evaluations whilst focusing on tyre performance in FP2, with Carlos using the Soft (yellow) and Ultrasoft tyres and Nico the Supersoft (red) and Ultrasofts.
What we learned today:
• Understeer has been our enemy here so far, but there should be more pace to come.
Nico Hülkenberg, #27, R.S.18-02
Free practice 1: P15, 1:06.479, 35 laps
Free practice 2: P15, 1:06.273, 42 laps
Nico: “It’s been a fairly typical Friday. The balance isn’t quite there with the car so we’ve been tackling that as a priority. We didn’t make as much progress as we’d like between FP1 and FP2 and understeer has been our enemy here so far. Fortunately, it’s an enemy we know well so we have some good solutions to apply before we head out for qualifying tomorrow.”
Carlos Sainz, #55, R.S.18-03
Free practice 1: P13, 1:06.427, 29 laps
Free practice 2: P11, 1:05.999, 38 laps
Carlos: “We’ve been working hard today on getting the right set-up with the car and you could see we’re not quite there yet. Nevertheless, we have a decent number of laps on the board and we know what we need to improve to get a faster and more balanced car. I think we have the potential so I look forward to tomorrow.”
Bob Bell, Chief Technical Officer: “Today we didn’t really find a good balance on the car. Neither driver was particularly happy as we had a lot more understeer than we would like which is hurting the front end, which consequently isn’t good for the tyres. We can make a big improvement on that for the rest of the weekend, especially if the track temperatures come up a little. The car ran reliably and the new MGU-K system works well. We have the information we need, now it’s about striking a better balance.”