Jolyon Palmer says he was caught “massively by surprise” when he lost the rear of his RS17 and hit the barrier at the Albert Park circuit.
Palmer had the dubious honour of being the first official crasher of the 2017 championship as he lost control of his Renault during Friday’s second practice.
The Brit lost the back end of the car, spun and smacked into the tyre wall backwards before the car was pulled around also causing front left damage.
“I was on a tidy lap and attacking the last corner I did not think too much of it,” Palmer said.
“I just turned it in, had a bit of understeer and then the car just completely let go in the rear. It caught me massively by surprise, really.
“I felt really comfortable in the car and I felt we were in a good place. That is why I felt the confidence to go and attack straight away and the lap I was doing was going to be pretty sensible on the timing sheets.”
The former GP2 champ, entering his second season in Formula 1, insists he still has full confidence in the car but is in the back foot ahead of Saturday’s qualifying.
“I have got confidence in the car still,” he added. “I am just frustrated because it puts me on the back foot for tomorrow. I just need to do some more laps.
“Barcelona testing was all fine and I was getting a lot of confidence in the car and the few laps I had before I was feeling good.”