It was an emotional day at the Suzuka International Circuit as Renault Sport Formula One Team bid a fond farewell to driver Jolyon Palmer who drove a strong race, gaining six positions in the Japanese Grand Prix to finish twelfth at Suzuka. Nico Hülkenberg was also having a strong race – running as high as fifth – but was forced to retire when a component on his DRS mechanism failed.
• Nico started the race from P11 on new Soft (yellow) Pirelli tyres and pitted on lap 38 for a fresh set of Supersoft (red) tyres.
• Jolyon started the race from P18 on a new set of Soft tyres pitting on lap 39 for new Supersofts.
Nico Hülkenberg, #27, R.S.17-04: Started P11, DNF.
“That was frustrating as a good points haul was possible today. I had fresh Supersoft tyres for a short final stint. I was able to overtake a Toro Rosso straight after my pit stop to then set about attacking the HAAS. It’s a shame, but a small metal component broke on the DRS mechanism which left it stuck open. We’ll look at why it broke as we missed a good opportunity. I’m sure we can fight back, the car was pretty decent in the race today and there’s plenty more to come from us in the final four Grands Prix.”
Jolyon Palmer, #30, R.S.17-03: Started P18, finished P12.
“We had a solid last race, we started from the back and with one more lap, I think we could have had tenth. It’s been a tough season but the team and I have been through a lot, I’ve been here since the start of this new era for the team. We’ve come a long way and I’ve enjoyed it. I wish the team all the best in the future.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director
“Today was Jolyon’s last race. It was particularly challenging as he had to start near the back due to grid penalties, but thanks to a good strategy and a solid race, he was able to move up six position and finish twelfth. His performance is another demonstration of his professionalism and his loyalty, and a very good way to bid farewell to the Renault family. We sincerely wish him the best. Nico was also having a strong race, he had a good start, making up positions and the strategy was playing out very nicely. Unfortunately, shortly after his pit stop, when he was in a good position to move up, we had to retire the car. It is very frustrating as reliability has been our weakness this season. Overall we’ve had disappointing back to back races without any points. We are in a tight battle in the Constructors’ Championship and we need to make the most of each of the last four races. We will regroup before we head to Austin and come back with a renewed dynamic.
“I’d like to congratulate Red Bull Racing for their double-podium finish. They were very strong here again at Suzuka, which is a power sensitive track and demonstrates once again that on Sundays, the Renault engine works.”