Nico Hülkenberg: “There is a bit more ground work to be done”

Nico Hulkenberg finished P9 in his one and only free practice session on Friday in Austria - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Nico Hülkenberg only drove in free practice two at the Red Bull Ring on Friday to allow test driver Sergey Sirotkin some track time, but the German admitted it did not take him long to get into a rhythm.

The Renault Sport Formula 1 Team racer knew he was playing catch-up on Friday afternoon, but Hülkenberg completed forty-two laps and finished ninth fastest, despite admitting that the balance of the car was not completely to his liking.

“The afternoon went okay for me,” said Hülkenberg. “As I was only out in FP2, I had a little bit of catch-up to do, but I got in to the groove quite rapidly.

“I had a decent run on the Ultrasoft tyres whereas the long runs looked a bit more challenging on the harder compound. I struggled a little with car balance in this afternoon so there is a bit more ground work to be done to improve the overall package.”

Team-mate Jolyon Palmer suffered yet more mechanical issues during the afternoon session as an electrical fault restricted him to just seven laps, but the Briton was positive about his morning session, feeling it was one of his best first sessions this season.

“I had a positive morning as I was happy with the car straight away and it felt like the best FP1 out of the box for a while,” said Palmer. “We did a bit of fine tuning and I was feeling quite confident and comfortable on the track.

“It’s a shame we had an electrical problem in the afternoon and couldn’t get more laps in. The team is looking into it and the car should be good to go tomorrow morning.”