Renault began its 2017 Formula 1 season with Nico Hülkenberg finishing just shy of the points in eleventh in the Australian Grand prix. Jolyon Palmer made a strong start from 19th on the grid, making four positions on the first lap. Unfortunately the Brit then suffered an intermittent brake issue which led to his retirement from the race on lap 15.
Nico started the race in P11 on new ultrasoft tyres, changing to a set of fresh soft tyres on lap 16 then a set of scrubbed ultrasofts on lap 30
“The conclusion from my first race with the team is that we are firmly in the midfield and we’re looking forward to continuing to improve”, Hülkenberg commented. “My first lap wasn’t great as I tried to get [Daniil] Kvyat on the outside of turn 13 but he squeezed me wide and I lost a position to [Fernando] Alonso. There was not much I could do about him, even though I was lot faster as I just couldn’t overtake. I had a very positive last stint on the ultrasoft tyres with the car getting better and better, although it wasn’t quite enough to gain another position. My battle with [Esteban] Ocon and Alonso was a lot of fun, I had massive double tow from them, so I gave it all with overtake mode and DRS. It was quite spectacular and must have looked pretty good from the outside too.”
— Renault Sport F1 (@RenaultSportF1) 26 March 2017
Jolyon started the race in P19 on new soft tyres before retiring on lap 15 with a brake issue
“My race was going well. I made places at the start despite being on the hardest tyre, my pace was pretty reasonable and I could see Nico and Esteban ahead of me. Unfortunately, my brakes stuck on at turn 14. We hoped it was just a glitch. But it happened again so we had no alternative other than to retire. It was not the start I wanted to my season, so we’ll put it down to experience and look forward to China”, Palmer added.
A weekend where pretty much everything went wrong. Lots of lessons learnt all round and looking forward to starting afresh in China.
— Jolyon Palmer (@JolyonPalmer) 26 March 2017
Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul said:
“This first Grand Prix of the season under these new regulations has delivered several lessons. Our race result highlights that we were not as well prepared as our opposition and our lack of mileage and preparation, both during pre-season testing and during this weekend, meant we suffered. We learnt that in this new Formula 1 era everything needs to be perfect, as it is very difficult to gain track position. We needed to be stronger at the start, in our execution of our strategy, in our pit stops and with our car set-up and balance.
Although there were very few laps of clean air to demonstrate it, we feel that our car-engine-driver combination allows us to be in the group that we were targeting to race against. At every race, we should be in a position to fight for Q3 on Saturday and to fight for points on the Sunday. Looking forward, our first priority for Shanghai is to improve our reliability and from there we should be in a stronger position.”