Renault Sport Formula One Team ended the first day of the VTB Russian Grand Prix with the eighth fastest lap time, a 1min 36.329secs, thanks to Nico Hülkenberg. Sergey Sirotkin got his first taste of the R.S.17 in a Grand Prix session, however his run in Nico Hülkenberg’s car during FP1 was cut short due to an hydraulic issue interfering with the gearbox’s operation. Jolyon ran in both sessions, with a best time of 1min 36.771secs.
Alan Permane, Sporting Director - Technical programme notes
In FP1, Sergey suffered from a hydraulic issue which affected the gearbox, requiring its replacement. He was using Pirelli’s Soft (yellow) compound tyres, but only completed one installation lap.
Jolyon’s FP1 ran to order with aero assessments and evaluations, using Pirelli’s Soft and Supersoft (red) compounds.
Nico and Jolyon ran with the Supersoft and Ultrasoft (purple) tyres in FP2. Jo’s session ended early due to an exhaust leak; Nico’s ran to schedule.
What we learned today:
The R.S.17 showed good pace.
Sergey Sirotkin, #46, R.S.17-02
Free practice 1: P20, no time set, 2 laps
Sergey: “It was a short run for me in FP1, but that’s motor sport and it’s better to have an issue with the car in practice than in qualifying or the race. There’s not much I can say about today other than I was happy with the car at the Bahrain test and I was fully prepared to deliver everything required today. I’m next out in Spain so that’s where my focus now lies.”
Nico Hülkenberg, #27, R.S.17-02
Free practice 2: P8, 1:36.329, 38 laps
Nico: “It was a pretty straightforward FP2 for me after a short FP1 with the headset on whilst Sergey was in the car. We were up to speed pretty quickly and I don’t think there’s anything to fear from the weekend ahead. We completed a decent amount of laps so there is enough info to digest in the quest to making us faster tomorrow and on race day.”
Jolyon Palmer, #30, R.S.17-01
Free practice 1: P15, 1:39.158, 16 laps
Free practice 2: P13, 1:36.771, 22 laps
Jo: “The car felt pretty good straight out of the box and I was able to push it without any particular issues. The front end felt good and there was good traction too, so I think we’ve made some nice progress with understanding the car and also with the new parts we’ve added. FP2 ended a little early for me, but I’m feeling positive for the rest of the weekend.”
Nick Chester, Technical Director: “We got some good mileage on our new aero package today despite a tricky morning for Sergey which saw his session cut short after a hydraulic problem which then damaged the gearbox. It’s disappointing as we know he would have done a good job. Jo had a useful morning looking at the aero package and doing some set up work. This afternoon, we focused on completing our qualifying and long runs with both Jo and Nico. So far our short run pace looks reasonably good; we just need to analyse the race pace.”