Both Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg have voiced frustrations with an inconsistent performance and feeling from their Renault F1 car.

In a difficult qualifying at the Spanish Grand Prix, Hulkenberg suffered an early exit in Q1 after running off track at Turn 4 and damaging his car leaving him stranded in 16th place.

Ricciardo fared better making it into Q3 but a mistake on his key final run restrained him to 10th place and coupled with his three-place grid penalty carried over from his crash with Daniil Kvyat in Azerbaijan it means he’ll line up 13th for the Spanish race.

Despite going into the weekend optimistic with upgrades and a new internal combustion unit for improved reliability, both drivers raised concerns about an inconsistent F1 car which behaved differently with the same setup in different sessions.

“Sometimes the car is pretty good, and then next session it might be not like it was,” Ricciardo said. “So it is still a little bit hard to read and lacks some consistency.

“Yesterday morning I felt like the car was good. I was like, sweet. We didn’t change too much, but it felt like we just fell off the pace. Then in qualifying we were able to get it back. And get closer to where we needed to be.

“But we know some reasons why with setup but it is not always that clear. So it is probably still a bit off. Sometimes a bit of a nightmare to get it in that window.”

“The balance is not that consistent and it changes around often, even during a session with conditions changing,” Hulkenberg added. “It is tough to stay on top of the balance and it seems the operating window seems quite narrow and sharp so it makes it tough to get the rhythm sometimes and the consistency.”

Ricciardo elaborated saying he’s not spotted a trend of the inconsistencies, with the balance feeling changing in all types of corners, which is causing Renault headaches along with its current braking problem.

“I wouldn’t say a massive pattern for now,” he explained. “In the morning the car felt good in the low speed corners, but not good in the high speed, and this afternoon it was a bit better in the high speed but not as good in the low speed. So I wouldn’t say there is a real characteristic yet.

“The high speed I’m sure that the top three teams, they have a bit more downforce, so their high speed is quicker. For sure it can be a place we can improve, but probably no more than braking and entry for low speed. So it is a bit of a mix for now.”

 

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