The Renault Sport Formula One Team secured its second points-scoring finish of 2017 with a robust eighth place from Nico Hülkenberg in Sunday’s VTB Russian Grand Prix.
Hülkenberg started eighth then ran a mammoth 40-lap stint on his qualifying Ultrasort tyres before changing to the Supersoft tyres for a final 12-lap bid to wrestle seventh place from Esteban Ocon. But Jolyon Palmer’s race ended at the second corner, the victim of an ambitious over-the-kerbs overtake attempt from Romain Grosjean.
I was definitely happier with our race pace, we’ve still got more work to do but we’ve clearly taken a step in the right direction this weekendNico Hülkenberg
Hülkenberg said: “I’m really happy with the strategy we ran, there wasn’t too much left from the tyres at the end of that first stint but we achieved what we set out to do. I lost track position at the start so we let everyone else pit ahead of us and went as long as we could go on the first set of boots.
“I kept pushing and the car performed really well, staying switched on with the track improvement meaning I was able to get faster and faster. I was definitely happier with our race pace, we’ve still got more work to do but we’ve clearly taken a step in the right direction this weekend.”
Palmer said: “There was no space for me to go because of the Sauber, so maybe Romain [Grosjean] wasn’t aware of that but he kept it in, hit me, then we were both out of the race.”
Managing director Cyril Abiteboul said: “Another step forward for the team this weekend, not only confirming that we are regular top ten qualifiers but also showing that our race pace has improved relative to our qualifying performance too.
“We did everything we could at a circuit we knew would not be one of the most favourable for our package. Our overall performance gives us strong optimism as we head to tracks which should be more suited to our car, especially as we have a healthy development programme lined-up.”