Renault Sport Formula One Team put in a productive first day of the Honda Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka with both drivers enjoying uninterrupted programmes. Nico Hülkenberg ended FP2 as the quicker of the team’s drivers, setting a 1min 30.644secs lap of the 5.8km track, with Carlos Sainz just three tenths adrift.

Alan Permane, Sporting Director - Technical programme notes
• In FP1, Carlos ran with a rear aero-rake for his first runs. He ran with Pirelli’s Supersoft (red) and then the Soft (yellow) tyres. Nico ran the same tyre line-up.
• In FP2, Nico ran with the Soft, Supersoft and then Soft tyres whilst Carlos ran with the Medium (white), Supersoft and then Medium again.

What we learned today:
• Suzuka held no surprises today.

Nico Hülkenberg, #27, R.S.18-02
Free practice 1: P15, 1:31.418, 18 laps
Free practice 2: P12, 1:30.644, 36 laps

Nico: “Suzuka is a great track to drive and it always puts a smile on my face. It was a pretty slick day behind the wheel and the car’s been working as we expected it to. The tyres were easy to understand in their performance, so now all we have to do is unlock the maximum performance from the set-up for tomorrow.”

Carlos Sainz, #55, R.S.18-03
Free practice 1: P12, 1:31.100, 23 laps
Free practice 2: P14, 1:30.904, 31 laps

Carlos: “In general I think it was a pretty straightforward Friday for us with no big issues. In the morning the car felt quite good and we completed a strong programme whilst in the afternoon we were lacking a bit of pace. We made changes through the day so I am confident we know where to look for those extra tenths. Having said that, we do need to work hard tonight if we want to be competitive for the rest of the weekend.”

Nick Chester, Chassis Technical Director: “A straightforward Friday for us where we’ve been able to run through our programme without interruption. We completed aero tests and setup comparisons with both cars before running Supersoft, Soft and Medium tyres. We have plenty of information to work on ahead of qualifying tomorrow.”