British rookie Jolyon Palmer scored his maiden point in Formula 1 at last weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix – but admitted to having the mistake that cost him good points at this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix on his mind.
In a drama filled race, Palmer finished in a respectable tenth place, being only the third time this year that Renault have finished in the points. Having come close on several occasions, notably the first race of the year in Australia and in Hungary, where he spun and lost his top ten position, Palmer finally managed to break his streak of no points.
When queried by Autosport about how important this point was given his uncertain future with the team, the Brit replied: “Yeah, and especially after what happened in qualifying as well. I was so disappointed [to qualify 19th] because I knew the potential we had, but this time we had a chance, we put everything behind us and did the job.”
Palmer admitted to having his twelfth place finish in Hungary in mind, commenting that: “After Hungary it was in my head, and in the last 10 laps I thought ‘Just keep it on the track’.
“But I learned from it, kept focused, no mistakes, just kept the gap to [Carlos] Sainz [behind in 11th], and then in the end I managed to stretch away in the last couple of laps.”
He seemed optimistic about the overall performance and improvement of the Enstone based team, despite poor qualifying:
“We had a little bit more in reserve, but I’m always learning and the trend is still improving throughout the year, even if sometimes like in qualifying I didn’t show well.”
The Brit pulled off a well-managed one stop strategy, meaning that he stayed ahead of the likes of Carlos Sainz and Marcus Ericsson.
“The one stop was good, but the main thing was keeping the tyres alive, we kept the pace up and the tyres going,” he mentioned. “To go hard-soft [strategy] gave us an advantage, but we could only do that by going 31 laps on the hard, and 25 on the soft, so we really eked everything out.”
The remainder of the field benefited from the bad luck suffered by race leader Lewis Hamilton, who had an engine fire that caused his early retirement from the race, not least Palmer, who would have finished in eleventh had this not happened.
“I finally had a little bit of luck with the Mercedes dropping out when I was 11th. Beforehand these things haven’t gone my way, it’s always when I’ve been further down people have dropped out.
“Finally it’s come my way, and this is long overdue – big time.”
However, Palmer did not want to contribute his finishing position solely to Hamilton’s misfortune, commenting that:
“But we’ve also beaten some quicker cars, so overall we did a pretty good job, with everything coming together.”