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Hulkenberg fifth signals Renault progress

© AFP | Renault's German driver Nico Hulkenberg drives during the qualifying session at the Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England on July 15, 2017 ahead of the British Formula One Grand Prix

SILVERSTONE (UNITED KINGDOM) (AFP) - 

Nico Hulkenberg produced Renault's best qualifying result since returning to Formula One as a works team when he qualified sixth to claim fifth on the grid for Sunday's British Grand Prix.

The German driver gained a place thanks to a five-place penalty given to Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas who had qualified fourth.

"We are very happy with that result," said the team's sporting director Alan Permane.

"The aero updates used this weekend, for the first time, worked well ? now we hope to convert this result into points in the race."

Hulkenberg, in his first season with the team, continued his impressive run of qualifying performances.

He said: "We start just behind the top teams after that ? I had a good rhythm and the team made all the right calls for the conditions. I was feeling calm and confident and that helped me produce a good lap.

"The upgrades played their part, but the true test is tomorrow in the race. Let?s try and have a clean race and I will be very happy with some points."

Under-pressure Jolyon Palmer qualified 11th in the second Renault, reaching Q2 for the third time this year.

His place is under threat from Pole Robert Kubica who is making a comeback and has been testing with the team.

Palmer said: "I had a really good feeling with the car today and I am pleased with that result. I feel confident to have a good race and I am loving the support from all the home fans."

© 2017 AFP