Renault “made some compromises” on Friday with rain expected to hit Hockenheim

by Craig Venn

Nico Hülkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo are keeping their eyes on the skies over Hockenheim as they look forward to potential wet conditions for the 2019 German Grand Prix following a scorching Friday.

In the high temperatures seen during the opening practice sessions, the Renault F1 Team‘s pace suggests another weekend on the fringes of the top ten. Hülkenberg’s best lap time of 1:14.472 saw him ninth in FP2, four places and over half-a-second ahead of team-mate Ricciardo.

The German was pleased with the day’s running but says he “wouldn’t mind” the expected rain for qualifying.

“It’s been a productive Friday for us,” said Nico. “Obviously, it was very challenging with the heat, which made things tricky for the car, drivers, mechanics and the tyres. Managing the tyres was a big subject today, but all in all, it’s not been a bad day.

“The midfield looks close again with a lot of cars in there. We need a good effort tomorrow to be at the front of that. I wouldn’t mind some rain tomorrow, that would make it interesting around here!”

Although appearing lower down the timesheets than his team-mate on Friday, Daniel Ricciardo remains pleased with the progress made, but he too is expecting a change in the weather to mix things up come qualifying.

“We put in plenty of laps today, so no complaints there,” said Ricciardo. “We have a bit of lap time to find, but we’ll try and figure it out tonight.

“We won’t stress too much as the weather and temperatures look like they’ll change for the rest of the weekend. Physically, it wasn’t too bad out there, it was certainly hot and quite hard at the wheel but I quite enjoy that!

“It was tricky making the tyres last and the grip didn’t feel great, but that’s the same for everyone.”

Renault appeared once again to be set for a tough fight with the rest of the mid-field, with the likes of the Haas F1 Team and the Racing Point F1 Team showing good pace in Germany. But Renault’s sporting director Alan Permane explains that his team’s cars were running a somehat compromised set-up with “one eye on it being wet” later in the weekend.

“It’s fair to say it’s an unusual situation here,” said Permane. “Today was very hot, but over the next few days we’re expecting it to be cooler with a huge threat of rain.

“While we went through our normal work today, it might not be applicable if it does rain and we have to run a wet tyre. We made some compromises as a result of that today with one eye on it being wet.

“We don’t have any major concerns from today’s running, there’s time to find as always, but that’s the same for everyone on a Friday night. We’re looking forward to the rest of the weekend.”

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