The Renault Sport F1 Team endured a frustrating Heineken Chinese Grand Prix with Nico Hülkenberg finishing 12th and Jolyon Palmer one place further back.
Hülkenberg’s fine Saturday qualifying performance was undone by an early pit stop for dry tyres being followed by an incident on track requiring a Virtual Safety Car, which negated any advantage the strategy could have provided. The same Virtual Safety Car also undid the potential of an early stop for dry tyres for Palmer. The pair crossed the finish line just two seconds apart at the chequered flag at the Shanghai International Circuit.
In damp conditions if you can’t push, you lose all the tyre temperatureNico Hülkenberg
Hülkenberg said: “We took a risk right at the end of the first lap and came in for slicks as the track was really dry everywhere apart from the main straight. In damp conditions if you can’t push, you lose all the tyre temperature. I lost all grip; it was like driving on ice and I spun a few times.”
Palmer added: “It was a difficult race. We made the right call to pit at the end of the formation lap but I hit a wet patch when racing a Toro Rosso, then the tyres lost temperature under the Virtual Safety Car, so it was a very difficult first stint.
“On the plus side, the car ran reliably and I have a race distance under my belt now.”
Managing director Cyril Abiteboul said: “We showed strong potential on Saturday however the race did not deliver the results we wanted. The early Virtual Safety Car meant we were immediately on the back foot as we’d already pitted Nico to cover the threat from those behind.
“We are disappointed to end the second Grand Prix with no points, however the positives are that we showed both pace and reliability here. We need to harness our potential better in the coming races.”