Nico Hülkenberg enjoyed a positive first day on Friday as the German finished ninth in both free practice sessions at the Albert Park circuit for the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team.
The twenty-nine-year-old is having his first race weekend with the Enstone-based team following his off-season switch from the Sahara Force India F1 Team, and although he was restricted to just 15 laps during the first session, he was able to complete 36 laps in the second.
Hülkenberg felt a lot of progress was made on Friday with the set-up of his RS17, but feels there is still time to be found on Saturday ahead of qualifying, with his best time of 1:25.478 coming in the second session on the Ultrasoft compound, 1.858 seconds down on the pace set by Lewis Hamilton out front.
“I would say it’s been a pretty reasonable first Friday of the season and we’ve got a decent base to work from,” said Hülkenberg. “We made some solid progress on balance and set-up and got some understanding of the tyres too.
“The R.S.17 feels good around Albert Park and we know we can make some progress for tomorrow with everything we’ve learnt today.”