Renault Sport Formula One Team driver Nico Hülkenberg led qualifying for the team, setting the twelfth-fastest time at the Suzuka International Circuit ahead of tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix. Team-mate Jolyon Palmer qualified fourteenth but will take a twenty-place penalty for PU component changes.

Nico Hülkenberg, #27, R.S.17-04, Q: P12 [starts P11] 1:29.879 FP3: P7 1:30.315
“We struggled in qualifying and the car balance just wasn’t there, in particular with oversteer in the first sector. Generally, in qualifying you improve, but this time it wasn’t coming to us, so a top ten position slipped through our fingers. It’s not going to be easy tomorrow as the midfield is a competitive place to be. It wasn’t the qualifying we hoped for, it’s going to be hard work but we just need to do a good job to recover tomorrow. The package is good, and if we can have a good start everything is at play for the race; we can still score points.”

Jolyon Palmer, #30, R.S.17-03, Q: P14 [starts P18] 1:30.022 FP3: P10 1:30.764
“Qualifying was okay, but the overall pace was a little disappointing for the team. The first run in Q2 went well and we were just out of the top ten, but on the second run, the car was sliding a bit and we couldn’t improve. The track was getting better so when you don’t improve, you fall down a long way. It’s a shame but we have to start at the back of the grid. I think we have more pace than the guys in front, so it can be a fun race.”

Alan Permane, Sporting Director
It’s going to be a tough race day.

How was qualifying for the team?
“Qualifying fell short of our expectations today. We struggled to get the car working as we would have liked in the first sector, however, we were relatively happy with the second and third sectors. It’s going to be a tricky race, Jolyon will start towards the back of the grid with a twenty-place penalty and we will push hard and do everything we can to get in the points. The weather tomorrow looks warm and sunny so there shouldn’t be anything unexpected there.”