Nico Hulkenberg is not reading into his surprise top-five finish in second practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Friday, saying Renault still has balance issues on its car.

Hulkenberg sprung a surprise by finishing fifth in FP2 at the Bahrain International Circuit, beating Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly, and lapping just one-tenth of a second shy of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.

F1 Hot Lap with George Russell

Despite disrupting the usual lockout of the top six positions by Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red Bull, Hulkenberg said he would not read much into the result heading into the remainder of the race weekend.

“If the Friday’s good, I’m not one of the guys that reads into it too much. I think other people didn’t reach their full potential today,” Hulkenberg said.

“The timesheet looks good. The long run times look OK, but the feeling wasn’t that great in the car to be honest.

“We were still far off with the balance, in my opinion, so we need to keep working and keep finding some harmony and lap time.”

Explaining the balance issues, Hulkenberg said he struggled between the shift in track conditions between FP1 – which ran entirely in daytime – and FP2 after night fell in Bahrain.

“Balance-wise, it didn’t feel too impressed with the car today to be honest. There was obviously quite a big contrast from temperatures in FP1 to FP2,” Hulkenberg said.

“Like we know in Abu Dhabi, and here that happens with the night races. It shifts in balance, and it felt not entirely happy with the car this afternoon.

“So hopefully we can improve tomorrow.”