It was a troubled opening day for the works Renault team in Montreal, with technical issues and a crash marring the team’s practice session, but the R.S.18’s pace was clear to see.
Amid the setbacks, Carlos Sainz clocked in with a promising eighth-fastest time in FP1 while Nico Hulkenberg was just outside of the top ten in the afternoon session.
The German driver was sidelined for most of the morning practice as the result of a gearbox issue that left him stranded out on the track.
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“It was a pretty quiet morning for me once I found my way back to the garage, but the afternoon was far more productive,” said the Hulk.
“We weren’t able to run through all of our usual programme because of the missed track time, but we still made progress and know what has to be done to get the car more to my liking for tomorrow.”
Carlos Sainz concluded his morning run in an upbeat mood but was left frustrated hours later following an impact with the wall at Turn 7 that put a premature end to his day.
Still, the Spaniard feels the R.S.18’s baseline performance should yield a good result in Saturday’s qualifying session.
“I was pushing them a bit quicker than the previous run, and the tyre was just not up to temperature and it didn’t give me enough rear support,” Sainz explained.
“We still learned a lot, still feel confident for tomorrow. We have a good baseline to go and attack the top 10 tomorrow.
“Obviously we would have liked to have completed a bit more, but I think we are happy enough to get together a good baseline, a good car for tomorrow. Up until the crash I think I was feeling pretty confident.”
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