Palmer Handed Grid Penalty Following Gearbox Change

Jolyon Palmer has been handed a grid penalty for the Belgian Grand Prix - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Jolyon Palmer will drop five places on the grid for the Belgian Grand Prix after his Renault Sport Formula 1 Team was forced to change his gearbox.

The Briton has had a strong weekend so far at Spa-Francorchamps, and had made it through to the top-ten shootout for only the second time in 2017, only for him to stop on track before setting a lap time, meaning he was resigned to being tenth.

Smoke was seen coming out of the rear of his RS17 as he approached the end of the lap, and it was a loss of gearbox oil pressure that prevented him from continuing in the session.

Lap times earlier in qualifying showed he could have been as high as seventh on the grid, which would have seen him out-qualify team-mate Nico Hülkenberg for the first time this year, but now he will fall behind Fernando Alonso, Romain Grosjean, Kevin Magnussen, Carlos Sainz Jr and Lance Stroll on the grid.

“It would have been a lot harder if the reliability had come at the start of qualifying and we couldn’t show what we were capable of,” said Palmer. “We’re starting a bit out of place even if we’re 10th, and if we’re further back we’ve got even more cars that we’re quicker than ahead.

“It changes the race, but in terms of the pace and mentality and confidence, it’s still there.”

Palmer joins a long list of drivers with grid penalties this weekend, with Felipe Massa, Marcus Ericsson, Pascal Wehrlein, Daniil Kvyat and Stoffel Vandoorne all taking various numbers of penalties for various infractions and component changes.