2017 F1 team mate battles: Hulkenberg vs Palmer at Renault

2017 F1 season review

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The contest between Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer at Renault was such a one-sided affair it came as no surprise to anyone that Palmer was shown the door before the year was out.

The qualifying scoreline was especially brutal. Palmer suffered 15 consecutive defeats in qualifying (he was unable to set a time in Azerbaijan due to a technical problem) and his 0.838 second average deficit to Hulkenberg was the largest of any driver.

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And while Palmer was classified in front of Hulkenberg on three occasions, two of those require some qualification. In Malaysia Hulkenberg had gambled on an unusual strategy which backfired, forcing him to make a late pit stop, while Palmer spun twice. In Hungary he had to let Hulkenberg past (“Jo is slower than you”, he was told).

In Palmer’s defence, there were times when Hulkenberg had newer parts on his car before his team mate did. But that alone doesn’t explain a difference of this size.

Hulkenberg vs Palmer: The scores

Hulkenberg vs Palmer: Season results

Nico Hulkenberg Q
Jolyon Palmer Q

Hulkenberg vs Sainz

On the face of it Carlos Sainz Jnr’s results look little better than Palmer’s. But there are a few important details to keep in mind, not least the fact that Renault’s reliability problems late in the season compromised the efforts of both drivers.

Despite having to get to grips with an unfamiliar car, Sainz was immediately much closer to Hulkenberg’s pace than Palmer had been. On average he was within three-tenths of a second of the team’s established driver in qualifying.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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11 comments on “2017 F1 team mate battles: Hulkenberg vs Palmer at Renault”

  1. 2018 will be absolutely delicious from a neutral fan’s view. Tensions will hike at Renault if they have a car at Force India level. We saw Ocon and Perez duke it out this year. They’ll be more mature next year but Sainz and Hulkenberg are going to be very evenly matched unless Renault power plays spoilsport.

    1. @godoff1 Yes. Both Ocon-Perez and Sainz-Hulkenberg pairs are the one to watch. On the other news, since the ex-FIA technical guy could effectively push Renault on Force India after April 1st, I hope there could be a four way battle between them soon enough.

      1. *push Renault to Force India level

    2. +1 Force India and Renault exciting driver pairings

  2. Surely Hungary shouldn’t count as Palmer finishing ahead because Hulkenberg retired from the race? Same with Alonso at Canada etc. I know, the 75% rule, but I’d only count it as finishing ahead if both cars saw the flag.

    Next year does look very interesting, with Sainz having time with the team over winter, and the possibility that the car could be a bit better next year too, and of course with a much better driver pairing. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Renault closer to McLaren that McLaren are to Red Bull. Hulkenberg and Sainz is also probably the 3rd or 4th strongest line up on the grid.

    1. I think Renault will be much closer to RB than McLaren to RB, then i finally hope to see Hulk fighting for podiums, i really really hope that.

    2. @hugh11
      Just a minor correction, other than that I agree with what you said:

      the 75% rule

      The 75% rule marks the minimum race distance needed for full points. The cutoff for being classified is 90% of the race distance.

      1. Ah. Could’ve sworn it was 75%. Either way, still don’t think it should count as being classified.

  3. Also you counted belgium qualifying for hulkenberg! Palmer did better than hulk in q2 and had a problem before he set a lap in q3, hulk never beat palmer’s q2 time, mechanical problems should be excluded!

    1. I see where you’re coming from but I don’t necessarily agree using Q2 times in this example would always be more representative.

      For instance imagine driver A and driver B from the same team do their first runs on new tyres in in Q2. Driver A does a time quick enough to go through but driver B does not. Driver B therefore runs again using another set of new tyres and, thanks to track evolution, sets a time which is faster than Driver A’s. The statistic would tell us Driver B had done a better job, when arguably that isn’t the case.

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