Tough day at the office for Hulkenberg and Palmer

© XPB 

When it came to qualifying in Baku on Saturday, Nico Hulkenberg was on his own. His Renault team mate Jolyon Palmer was stuck watching from the sidelines, having suffered a high pressure fuel leak and fire during FP3.

But the team's bad luck on Saturday soon passed on to Hulkenberg. He made it through Q1 successfully but then suffered a technical issue on the R.S.17. It meant he completed only three laps in the second round, and ended up eliminated.

“There was an electrical problem meaning we lost power and then the car couldn’t run at the end of Q2," he confirmed. As a result, Hulkenberg will start the Azerbaijan Grand Prix from 13th place on the grid.

"We’ll push and fight for points," he insisted. "It’s not going to be easy this weekend, but it’s a long race so you just have to stay on the ball and seize every opportunity."

Hulkenberg will be on the lockout for opportunities presented by other drivers hitting problems during the race.

"It’s a super challenging and tricky track here," he said. "We’ve seen a lot of issues up and down the pit lane."

As for Palmer, missing qualifying meant he needed special permission from the race stewards to take part in Sunday's race. The stewards agreed to the request, citing the fact that "the driver has set satisfactory times in practice at this event."

The team will rebuild Palmer car overnight, which was heavily damaged by the fire and the extinguishers used to put out the small blaze.

"It’s obviously not ideal to miss qualifying," said Palmer. "But we had what looks like a fuel leak which ignited.

"It obviously did too much damage to the car for us to be able to make qualifying.

"Tomorrow I’ll start from near the back of the grid, or the pit lane," he confirmed. "I should be in a strong position to capitalise if there’s any issue up the front of the field.

"Hopefully we make a few positions on the first lap, then anything can happen."

"It was a tough day at the office for us," contributed Renault's sporting director Alan Permane. "It was a far from ideal day on both sides of the garage.

"Both cars start further back on the grid than expected so there’s everything to do.

"We can afford to be adventurous with strategy for Jolyon," he noted. "Whereas Nico is still in a decent place to go for points from his starting position."

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