Renault preview the Chinese Grand Prix


A points finish is on the agenda for Niko Hulkenberg, while Jolyon Palmer is eager to hit the reset button and start again.

Niko Hulkenberg: “I’m going to be pushing all the way for points. Australia was slightly frustrating as we could have done better with the pace we had in the car but traffic was an issue for most of the race. Our tyre strategy didn’t help us either. It looks like we’re in the midfield with some of our rivals slightly ahead, but certainly in reach, and Shanghai is a very different track from Albert Park, so let’s see what happens.

“The track is famous for the never-ending Turn 1 / Turn 2 combination. It’s a tricky corner because it’s easy to go in too hot, especially during qualifying, and it’s a corner that eats the front-left tyre. This combination really sucks you in as the corner goes on a long time after a really fast entry, but you are shedding speed thereafter as it gets tighter and tighter in a corner that seems to go on forever before spitting you out into the downhill, tight Turn 3.

“Historically, looking after the tyres has been hard work because Turn 13 is another long right-hander that takes even more life out of them. The tyres and the cars are very different this year so we’ll have a lot to learn on Friday this year.

“The rest of the lap has a bit of everything from low-speed to high-speed, which makes it challenging to find a balanced set-up. There’s a big long straight where you have enough time to complete your tax return and have an espresso as you’re going in straight line with your foot hard down for so long, then you wake up and you’re hard on the brakes. It’s really important to get your braking right there as it’s a pretty important corner.”

Jolyon Palmer: “It’s a clean slate approach for me as Australia was a bit of a shocker. Fortunately the team were able to find the particular gremlin which affected me over the weekend so I’m heading to Shanghai as if it’s my first race of the season. Nico’s shown the race potential so let’s get out there and make points happen.

“More time in the car is all that’s needed to lead to a much better weekend. It’s as simple as that. Albert Park was a really frustrating start to the season so I’m looking to get more laps on the board and more progress in the race. Obviously, there were many factors out of my hands in Australia, so the team’s checked over the car very carefully to ensure we don’t see a repeat of any of the same issues. From my side, I’ll be avoiding the walls very keenly too!

“It’s a track made up of a long first corner, some fast corners in the middle sector and then a super-long back straight. To put a perfect lap together is not easy as there are a lot of different sections. We’ve seen some good races there in the past, degradation has been historically high – especially on the front left because of the long right-hand corners – so it will be interesting to see how the latest rubber fares.

“We should really get a keen appreciation of the downforce. In the first corner we should be able to attack with a lot more speed – and the entry to it should be pretty fruity. The middle section should also put a smile on our faces. Every track we visit this year will be exploring new limits and China should be a great example of this.

“There are very passionate fans in China so I’m looking forward to returning and meeting them again.”