Renault Sport Formula One Team driver Nico Hülkenberg says the team “won’t know anything” about the car’s performance until after the first qualifying session of the year, despite having a successful winter testing.
Renault finished the pre-season test with the fourth-fastest time, beating last year’s champions Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport by over three tenths of a second (albeit on a softer tyre). Times from testing are often not reliable though, with the team with the fastest pre-season time going on to win the championship only once in the last ten years.
This, Hülkenberg says, means the team won’t really know the performance of their car until after the first time all cars are going at full-pace – in qualifying.
“I feel positive. We’ve collected a lot of miles and data over winter testing which isn’t always the case, so that’s really beneficial to the team.
“I have a year’s worth of experience with the Renault family so that’s a good advantage for the first race. We’ve certainly made progress, not just over the whole of 2017 but also over the winter. We won’t know anything, or where we’re at exactly, until Saturday’s qualifying. I’m ready for that challenge and excited to get down to it and give it my all.”
Hülkenberg finished tenth in the 2017 season on forty-three points, and currently holds the record for most race starts without a podium – his record currently sitting at 135 races started.