11 April 2016
F1 Chinese GP: Palmer looking to bounce back from 'gutting' Bahrain GP
"The thing about a grand prix is that there's only one race on the weekend... if you have a problem, that's it - game over!"
Jolyon Palmer has admitted that not starting the Bahrain Grand Prix was 'really frustrating' but hopes to enjoy better fortune as the F1 circus rocks up in Shanghai this weekend.
The rookie had not enjoyed the best of qualifying sessions in Bahrain, and would have started from a lowly 20th on the grid had problems not intervened on the formation lap, leaving him to re-enter the pit-lane shortly before team-mate Kevin Magnussen would leave following the Friday penalty that removed him from the grid, but was confident of moving the through the field.
"I was pretty gutted!" Palmer admitted, "You complete the entire race weekend, all the practice sessions, qualifying, all the debriefs and all that work for a race and to miss even the race start – when there's the most adrenalin of the weekend, and the part you most look forward to – is really frustrating.
"The warm-up lap all went to plan, I was getting the tyres where I wanted them, then suddenly, in the second to last corner, I realised the hydraulic problem as the brakes, then the steering and then the gears went. It was disappointing for me and disappointing for the entire team. We knew that the race pace was going to be better than the qualifying pace so I was looking forward to moving up the order, just like we saw Kevin do. I think we should have both been able to have a good crack at the top ten."
Having excelled in GP2 prior to becoming the Lotus reserve last season, Palmer lamented the obvious difference between the series…
"The thing about a grand prix is that there's only one race on the weekend – whereas in every other series I've contested there is more than one," he pointed out, "If you have a problem, that's it... game over. To be packing up before you've seen the lights go off is disappointing."
Despite the frustration of Bahrain, however, the Briton is reasonably content with the start of his rookie season, and is confident that Renault will overcome the problems that has set it back so far.
"Australia was a really good way to kick off the year and we were a little bit ahead of where we thought we'd be so all the pre-season preparation had paid off well," Palmer reflected, "Bahrain was more challenging as it was a weekend where nothing really clicked but, overall, the feeling within the team is great.
"There were a few minor issues in Bahrain, which meant we weren't able to optimise performance, but we should have it all addressed for China. The car has a well balanced baseline and all we need is a little bit more performance. This is exactly what we have coming in the future, so everything's good."
Palmer has yet to race at Shanghai International Circuit but, having completed the opening practice session there last season, at least has an idea of what to expect.
"It's almost the exact opposite of Bahrain, which is rear limited," he revealed, "You can get pretty low temperatures there, so there's the challenge of long corners, which means front tyre graining.
"There are some very technical corners, like turn one and [going] on to the back straight, and one of the longest straights on the calendar right at the end of the lap. You really need to maximise the potential; you can't afford to mess it up. The long straight means the tyres are being cooled and the brakes are being cooled; both of which you need to be working at their best when you get into the corner. There are definitely two sides to the track but the double DRS zones into the first corner mean there's overtaking opportunities there..."
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