Nico Hülkenberg thinks that the Renault F1 Team has found a “solid baseline” to work from over the Chinese Grand Prix weekend in Free Practices 1 and 2.
Hülkenberg languished in twelfth position in Free Practice 1 at the Shanghai International Circuit, despite only sitting three-tenths adrift of sixth place team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, before moving into the top five of the standings in a promising Free Practice 2 for the French marque.
His best time over the course of his 53 laps across Friday’s running – a 1:34.096 – left him just 0.766 seconds behind pacesetter Valtteri Bottas in the afternoon’s session.
The German said that Renault completed the entirety of its planned Friday programme without any issues, despite widespread power unit component changes following a double failure at the Bahrain Grand Prix last time out.
“We can be pleased with our day,” Hülkenberg said.
“It was smooth running for us across both sessions with no issues and we completed our programme as we expected.”
Hülkenberg had previously expressed his concerns in the new-for-2019 R.S.19 suffering with the same balance issues seen in its predecessor, despite a complete design overhaul for the new season.
However, while the 31-year-old says that there are still a few performance aspects still to improve, he believes that Renault has settled on a good base performance to improve upon across the weekend.
“I felt positive and comfortable in the car today and I think that reflects in our lap times across both short and long runs.
“We still have a few areas to work on and some details to assess, but I feel today is a solid baseline to work off heading into Saturday.”