Renault F1 Team completed a positive first day of practice for the season-opening race of the 2019 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, the Rolex Australian Grand Prix.
Nico Hülkenberg posted the seventh fastest time of the day in Free Practice 2, a narrow 0.070secs quicker than new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.
Wearing the black and yellow Renault colours for the first time at a Grand Prix weekend, home favourite Daniel ended the day eighth fastest in front of a strong crowd at Albert Park, Melbourne. Daniel focused on a combination of short and long-based runs throughout the day, with a fastest time of 1min 23.644secs.
Alan Permane, Sporting Director – Technical programme notes
• Today was centred around acclimatising to the dusty, green and bumpy street circuit. Conditions improved throughout the day despite intermittent wind.
• At the start of FP1, Nico had a software issue that required a car re-set. It delayed the start of his programme, but he completed 11 laps on Pirelli’s Soft (Red, C4) tyres.
• Daniel also ran on Soft tyres in FP1 and absorbed part of Nico’s programme to ensure the team gained necessary data on a couple of development aero items.
• In FP2, both drivers ran on Soft tyres with Nico trying out the Hard (White, C2) and Daniel the Medium (Yellow, C3) in the second session.
What we learned today:
We’re well prepared on short and long runs.
Nico Hülkenberg, #27, R.S.19-02
Free Practice 1: P10, 1:25.015, 11 laps
Free Practice 2: P7, 1:23.574, 37 laps
Nico: “We recovered well today after a far from ideal first session. FP2 was good and consistent. I felt comfortable straight away in the car, which is one of the most important things for a driver. We’re coming in to a different circuit to that of testing and it’s such a contrasting track to get a feel for. I felt at home - happy as we can be at this stage - and we ran to our programme as planned in FP2. Our long runs were good, but there is still a lot of data to analyse overnight before Qualifying tomorrow.”
Daniel Ricciardo, #3, R.S.19-01
Free Practice 1: P17, 1:25.634, 16 laps
Free Practice 2: P8, 1:23.644, 31 laps
Daniel: “It was good to get the first day done. It’s been a busy week with a big build-up so to get Friday practice completed is nice. We had some consistent running in FP2 and I was certainly growing more comfortable on each run. We still have lots to learn and improve on, but we’re getting there. For me, it’s about developing the understanding of the car and we’ve made a good start on that today. Qualifying will be interesting tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it.”
Nick Chester, Chassis Technical Director: “Overall, we have had a pretty good day to start the season. The earlier session was a little interrupted as we detected a software issue on Nico’s car, which needed re-programming. Daniel was really just getting into it in his first practice with the team. We, however, improved the car between sessions and the second was very good. We looked to have reasonable pace on both the short and long runs; we still need to look through all the information, but we are reasonably happy with the opening day.”