As they head into their first home race weekend for ten years, Nico Hülkenberg called Friday “a productive day” for the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team.
Hülkenberg languished in eighteenth in Free Practice 1, before leaping up to eleventh – just ahead of team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. – in FP2, two-and-a-half seconds shy of the blisteringly quick pacesetter Lewis Hamilton.
The German, who has scored points in both of the last two races, said that the French Grand Prix experience was “enjoyable” as the drivers got to grips with the Circuit Paul Ricard.
“That was a productive day for us,” said Hülkenberg. “And it was enjoyable to be out there pounding in the laps in the sun.”
Hülkenberg expects Renault to push on from a fairly lowkey performance on Friday in order to satisfy the home crowd. In the days leading up to the race weekend, Renault Sport‘s managing director, Cyril Abiteboul, admitted that he is feeling certain pressures to perform.
But, Hülkenberg – currently eighth in the Drivers’ Championship – conceded that the changing winds played havoc with the car’s predictability and handling.
“We made good progress with the car even if we had to deal with some indecisive wind which changed its direction between sessions,” he added.
“The track is good to drive and we saw a few people running over the limits on occasion. We learnt a lot and there’s more to come from us tomorrow.”