Renault Sport Formula One Team saw a mixed-weather first day at Suzuka in preparation for this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. FP1 proved productive with dry conditions, whereas the afternoon saw extensive rainfall, meaning a delayed start to running, and only limited track action thereafter. Nico Hülkenberg set the eighth fastest time with a 1min 30.974 lap, while team-mate Jolyon Palmer was fifteenth in the morning. Although both drivers took to the track in the afternoon, due to the wet conditions neither driver completed a timed lap.
Alan Permane, Sporting Director – Technical programme notes
• In FP1, Jolyon and Nico used Pirelli’s Medium (white), Soft (yellow) and Supersoft (red) tyres.
• In FP2 both Nico and Jolyon ran the Wet (blue) tyres.
What we learned today:
• The conditions can be variable in Suzuka.
Nico Hülkenberg, #27, R.S.17-04
Free practice 1: P8, 1:30.974, 24 laps
Free practice 2: P9, no time set, 1 lap
Nico: “FP1 was good. With the threat of rain expected in the afternoon, FP1 was a serious session, we ran quite a bit and did the testing we wanted to do. Everything felt ok, the balance was good so I wasn’t too unhappy. There isn’t much to say about the afternoon session, it was pretty wet and we wanted to conserve our tyres as there might be some rain again tomorrow.”
Jolyon Palmer, #30, R.S.17-03
Free practice 1: P15, 1:31.757, 22 laps
Free practice 2: P8, no time set, 1 lap
Jolyon: “There was a lot of traffic during FP1, but we were able to try different set-ups and I think we found a good direction. It was nice to get some dry running because we expect it to be wet again in FP3. In FP2 the grip level actually felt quite good despite the water, but we just decided to save the tyres because it could be wet again on Saturday, so we will keep them for qualifying.”
Nick Chester, Chassis Technical Director:
“The morning session was good today. We put a comprehensive programme together for FP1 because we knew we were going to have a wet FP2. We did a lot of work on set-up specific to this track, there are a lot of high speed corners so it’s a bit of a different track to optimise for. We completed tests on both cars, and it has given us good knowledge for where to run the car in the dry. For FP2, we wanted to try a little bit more of a wet set-up, but really it was too wet, so we just did the one lap to see where the rivers were and that was it.”