Renault F1 Team began preparations for the 66th Monaco Grand Prix on Thursday at an overcast Monte Carlo circuit.
Today focused on building the drivers’ comfort level in the Renault R.S.19 and finding confidence in the set-up with the track-specific high-downforce package.
Nico Hülkenberg posted the seventh fastest time in the morning session with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo just short of two tenths off Nico’s time.
Traffic on the circuit played a major role in the afternoon, with Nico finishing sixteenth and Daniel seventeenth.
Alan Permane Technical programme notes
• Thursday ran largely problem free with both cars running to their planned programmes.
• In Free Practice 1 both Nico and Daniel ran with Pirelli’s Soft (red) tyre with the early running geared towards dialling back in to the demands of a tight street circuit and finding comfort in set-up.
• In Free Practice 2, Daniel began on Hard (white) tyres and Nico on Mediums (yellow), before both ran on Softs.
What we learned today:
We have a solid base to work from today and drivers’ initial feedback is encouraging, but there’s quite a bit more pace to find ahead of Qualifying.
Nico Hülkenberg, #27, R.S.19-02
Free Practice 1: P7, 1:13.227, 45 laps
Free Practice 2: P16, 1:12.872, 49 laps
Nico: “Today seemed to go OK, especially in the morning session. In the afternoon, on my short run on the Soft tyre, we were interrupted with a lot of traffic so there was certainly more left in that. Monaco is always interesting and different to the usual race weekend and it’s good to have a day off tomorrow to go through all the data and find the best set-up for the next couple of days. I’m feeling comfortable, the base feels good, but there’s work to do here and there.”
Daniel Ricciardo, #3, R.S.19-03
Free Practice 1: P11, 1:13.413, 41 laps
Free Practice 2: P17, 1:12.888, 53 laps
Daniel: “I felt relatively comfortable in the morning and I was pleased that we got up to speed quite quickly. However, we didn’t make the step we needed in the afternoon. We did make some changes, but maybe they didn’t help as well as we’d have liked. Following the afternoon session, we have a bit more homework to do to really find that extra bit. As ever around Monaco, it’s awesome to be back driving a Formula 1 car on these streets. That’s always special.”
Nick Chester, Chassis Technical Director: “We were reasonably happy after the first session; we put a lot of laps in, the drivers felt comfortable and the balance didn’t seem too bad. In the afternoon, we weren’t as quick. We’ll see what we did with set-up changes and look how we get the pace back for FP3 on Saturday. We know we have work to do for a better day on Saturday, but we have tomorrow to go over everything and make the right changes.”