Renault Sport F1 Team's German driver Nico Hulkenberg drives at the Circuit de Catalunya on March 2, 2017 in Montmelo, on the outskirts of Barcelona during the fourth day of the first week of tests for the Formula One Grand Prix season. / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDAN (Photo credit should read JOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images)
The RenaultF1 team concluded their first week of pre-season testing with both Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer taking to the wheel of the R.S.17 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalonia on Thursday.

Hulkenberg had the honour of starting the day on a damp but drying track using Pirelli’s wet, intermediate and then the soft compound dry tyres.

The German driver completed the most laps of any driver in the morning session - 51 - with a best lap time of 1min 24.974secs.

“We completed a reasonable amount of laps in the morning, however the track dried pretty quickly so it was difficult to come to too many conclusions about the wet and intermediate tyres,” Nico said.

“We got some initial impressions on how the car reacts and feels on these tyres so we do have a starting point. The R.S.17 feels good so far, but we still have room for improvement and that’s what next week is about. We have a good starting point and base so we just need to work forward with more track time.”

The French squad then changed the power unit ahead of Jolyon Palmer taking to the track in the afternoon with what was by then a primarily dry track surface.

Over the course of 39 laps - using the intermediate and then the soft and medium compound dry tyres - Jolyon set the day’s third fastest time, a 1min 21.778secs.

“It was another good afternoon even if I didn’t get much of a chance to try the wet tyres,” Jo said. “We’ve continued to improve the car and that’s exactly what you want to achieve from pre-season testing."

"I think we can be really happy with where we’ve got to at the end of this first test and we’re definitely looking positively to next week. The car is improving all the time in terms of feel and pace with more to come than has been seen on the timing monitors so far.”

Fast Facts:
Track: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain, 4.7km
Chassis: R.S.17 - 01
Weather: Cool to warm and sunny. Ambient 9°C - 21°C Track 11°C - 29°C
Programme: Wet weather tyre assessment, set-up and aero evaluations.
Laps Completed: 90: Nico 51, Jo 39.
Classification: Jo: P3, 1:21.778, Nico P9 1:24.974.
Interruptions: Power unit change, rear wing change.
The team will now strip and rebuild the R.S.17 ahead of next week’s second test which will commence on Tuesday March 7. Both drivers will drive on each day of the test, with Jolyon taking to the wheel first on the morning of Tuesday.