Nico Hülkenberg was content with the pace shown by Renault Sport Formula One Team in Friday practice for the Formula 1 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but warned caution after “the car felt quite different,” in each session.
Hülkenberg, who is set to secure ‘Class B’ title honours in seventh place in the drivers’ championship, accumulated 60 laps of running around the Yas Marina circuit throughout the two 90-minute sessions. But despite strong pace in each, erred caution due to the differences in track conditions between the two sessions.
First practice started at 13:00pm local time, rendering the session largely redundant owing to the un-representative conditions. As with the grand prix on Sunday, the second session was green-lighted at 17:00pm local time, allowing teams to practice in the dusk/night conditions that will host the race.
In the afternoon running, Hülkenberg posted a 1m:41.023s, good enough to take 12th, whereas he improved by 2.8s in the evening session to take eighth.
“It is a little bit hard to judge where we stand as the track, and therefore the car, felt quite different between FP1 and FP2,” explained Hülkenberg. “It’s always the case in Abu Dhabi as the conditions change a lot between the afternoon and evening. [But] it’s been a relatively good Friday as we were able to get our work completed.
“There is still some work to do on the speed, but overall I think we are in good shape for the rest of the weekend.”
Team-mate Carlos Sainz, Jr showed similar pace throughout the day’s running, where he added to Hülkenberg’s 60 lap tally with 58 of his own.
The Spaniard was ninth and 12th, respectively in the two sessions, and echoed the German’s thoughts about how the car felt different between FP1 and FP2, but said the team was “positive going into tomorrow,” and that “preparing for good management,” would be the focus.