Hulkenberg, Ricciardo explain Renault's F1 Suzuka off-pace practice

Renault's Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg have explained why they ended up 17th and 18th at Suzuka in an FP2 session that could decide Formula 1's Japanese Grand Prix grid

Hulkenberg, Ricciardo explain Renault's F1 Suzuka off-pace practice

While the team has been on a strong run of getting its cars into Q3 since the summer break, it is still 33 points behind its customer McLaren in the constructors' standings.

In Friday's second practice, the team - which was experimenting with a new front wing - opted to go for qualifying-spec soft tyre runs late in the 90-minute session.

By then, the track was busy with Renault's rivals who were on long runs after already executing performance runs.

If the delayed qualifying session does not take place on Sunday morning before the race, the grid will be set by the FP2 times and Ricciardo and Hulkenberg will start way down the order.

"Our run was basically out of sequence," said Hulkenberg. "And we wanted to run low fuel and put lap times in at the end when we thought the track would be rubbered in and its best.

"But obviously all the others were on high fuel [runs], and we couldn't get the laps in because we kept hitting cars in traffic.

"If we don't get qualifying, we're very compromised.

"It's been a challenging day also with the car, in terms of balance and harmony.

"So, we're not as bad as 17th or 18th, that's due to circumstances, but even the top 10 seems challenging right now."

Hulkenberg added that "the balance wasn't quite together" for him during the session, while Daniel Ricciardo felt challenging for the top 10 was possible later in the day.

"Obviously we expected to be further up and I think we had the car to be further up," said Ricciardo.

"In the afternoon I think we had pretty good speed out of the box, it was a lot better. But then we got caught out trying to do the laps too late.

"On paper, we're not there [on pace], but I think the times - probably not on Carlos's [Sainz Jr] pace because he was pretty quick, but around the top 10."

Unlike Ricciardo, Hulkenberg appeared to be stronger in the morning but faded in the afternoon session.

"Other people seemed to have quite a bit of pace [in the afternoon], and for me, the balance wasn't quite together," Hulkenberg said.

"In the morning, I felt pretty good, but somehow that faded away in the afternoon. "It was a bit of both front and rear axle, not talking to each other in a good way! Not as connected as I would like them to be.

"We now have a lot of data and maybe we can find some stuff and re-optimise around that and have a good chance.

"We'll have a good look and analyse everything that happened today."

shares
comments
The evidence that Hamilton will be wrong about Suzuka
Previous article

The evidence that Hamilton will be wrong about Suzuka

Next article

Valtteri Bottas blames himself for 2019 F1 title bid slipping away

Valtteri Bottas blames himself for 2019 F1 title bid slipping away
Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie? Plus

Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie?

The Australian rising star is fast, consistent, confident, adaptable and has shown excellent racecraft, but there’s already a taint to his reputation. That hasn’t stopped him becoming the hottest property in this year’s F1 driver market and why McLaren moved fast to snap up the 21-year-old

Formula 1
Sep 30, 2022
The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver Plus

The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver

Formula 1's incoming engine rules shake-up has multiple targets. But it may also solve what has been a bone of contention since the hybrids arrived in 2014. The new plan will allow the series to pump up the volume

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance Plus

How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance

Nyck de Vries appeared to have missed his opportunity to break into Formula 1 as he was passed over for more exciting talents who have now become frontrunners and title fighters. But after catching the eye outside of the F1 sphere, before his stunning impromptu grand prix debut in Italy, will it lead to a delayed full-time race seat?

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment? Plus

Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment?

The Singapore Grand Prix has, explains BEN EDWARDS, played an important role in Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 career. As the series returns to the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first time in three years, he faces the latest challenge with an underperforming Mercedes car

Formula 1
Sep 28, 2022
Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals Plus

Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals

Although Ferrari's chances of title glory in 2022 have evaporated, chairman John Elkann expects the team to have chalked up both championships by 2026. Both require drivers to play the team game and, having now become more comfortable with the F1-75, Carlos Sainz may be Ferrari's key to title glory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2022
How F1 has tried to avoid repeating its 2014 engine rules mistakes Plus

How F1 has tried to avoid repeating its 2014 engine rules mistakes

With Formula 1’s future engine regulations now agreed, MARK GALLAGHER wonders if they will provide a more competitive field than past attempts actually managed

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2022
How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Plus

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era

STUART CODLING charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2022
The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared Plus

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared

Recent moves within the driver market have reminded MAURICE HAMILTON of a time when contracts weren’t worth the paper they weren’t written on…

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2022