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Jolyon Palmer feels he has enjoyed his strongest weekend of the Formula 1 season so far in Austria despite being knocked out in the first stage of qualifying on Saturday, qualifying 16th.

Palmer arrived in Spielberg under pressure after a point-less start to the year, but managed to qualify just two-tenths of a second off team-mate Nico Hulkenberg.

However, a late lap from McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne shuffled Palmer out in Q1 in P16, just three-hundredths shy of a place in the top 15.

"The whole weekend's been really good actually, performance-wise," Palmer said. "Just had traffic at the end of FP3, that's the first time I've been behind my teammate all weekend, and then I made a mistake on my lap and it cost me a couple of tenths. That was it basically. Three-hundredths out.

"I think it's been my strongest [weekend] all year I think in terms of performance. Every time, the pace has been there basically, every run that we've done.

"Just didn't put it together at the end and it's a short lap and if you don't put it together then three-hundredths out of Q1. So it's a shame because it's been a strong weekend. It's the same position again.

"Even though this weekend it's ended up being a disappointing qualy, I think it's been a much bigger step forward. Last year, I think it was in Canada, the step. This one seems to be a couple of races later, but I feel like I'm really on top of it this weekend."

Despite his future being subject to speculation, Palmer said he is paying no attention to any stories, instead focusing on improving his own on-track displays.

"I'm not worried about what I read in the press, what's going on with him or anyone else," Palmer said. "I'm just focused on doing the best job I can. It's in my hands to do a good job. Just got to do it really, focus on this."


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