Alan Permane felt it was a pretty straightforward qualifying session for the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team at the Hungaroring on Saturday, but the gearbox penalty for Nico Hülkenberg slightly tarnishes the result.
The German was in sublime form all session long, putting his RS17 into seventh position, the best of the rest behind the leading trio of teams, but he will start twelfth on the grid thanks to the gearbox change that happened on Friday, and as a result of this penalty, Hülkenberg’s race will be much more difficult.
“The team had a fairly simple and stress free session,” said Renault Sporting Director Permane. “Nico only needed one set of tyres to get through Q1 and another set to go through Q2.
“We are happy to be P7 or the ‘best of the rest’. The gearbox penalty is unfortunate, especially on a circuit like this, without it we would have been looking forward to a nice simple race – as it is we have some work to do to get Nico up into the points, but we have decent pace over the cars in front.”
Permane feels that had Jolyon Palmer had a stress-free, problem-free Friday in Hungary, the Briton would have been closer to the pace of his team-mate, but the 2015 GP2 Series champion will start tenth on the grid on Sunday.
“If Jo had a better day on Friday, I’m sure he could have made in into Q3 and this is key for him,” said Permane. “If he can have calmer Fridays, there is no reason he won’t be a regular Q3 visitor.”