Impressive start in Spain for Renault pair

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Both Renault drivers finished Friday practice in the top ten, with Nico Hulkenberg just faster than his team mate Jolyon Palmer. However, no one was getting carried away despite this impressive achievement.

"A solid Friday for us," was as far as Hulkenberg would be drawn. "We completed our usual programme and there were no dramas with the car.

"As usual, there are areas we are working on to improve for qualifying tomorrow and we know where some extra pace can be found.

"It was a real struggle to find grip today so I was presently surprised that we showed reasonable relative pace. If we can carry this through to tomorrow and the race it could be a decent weekend."

Jolyon Palmer missed out on taking part in the morning session, but was nonetheless immediately on the pace in FP2.

"It was good to get out in the car for the afternoon after sitting out in the morning," he said.

"The car feels a lot better when using the soft tyre as the balance on the Medium wasn’t too great," he added. "We had a productive session with a strong tally of trouble-free laps.

"I’ve got a few areas to work on with my engineers but overall it’s been a solid afternoon."

The only blot on the day as far as Renault was concerned was the curtailed morning run for development driver Sergey Sirotkin. He completed only ten laps before a water leak called time on his participation.

"It was a short run for me," sighed Sirtkin, who also missed out on most of FP1 in Russia with a technical issue.

"That’s motor sport. It’s better to have an issue with the car in practice than in qualifying or the race. At least this time I ran further than in Sochi!

"The car felt good and I was able to do what was required whilst I was out on track. Obviously, I’m hopeful that next time I get a clean session, but I know everyone in the garage is working hard to ensure this is the case."

Chief technical officer Bob Bell concurred that it had been a disappointing morning for the young Russian driver.

"Fortunately, he did get sufficient track time to gain a feel for the car," Bell said. "His feedback was consistent with that of Nico’s on the other side of the garage."

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