Palmer chasing first points finish


Jolyon Palmer is confident of bouncing back from his costly spin at the Hungarian Grand Prix by cracking the top 10 for the first time in his career on Sunday.

Palmer, the 25-year-old British rookie, was set to open his points-scoring account in Formula One before he spun from 10th place at the Hungaroring with only 21 laps remaining.

But earlier this week, Renault’s team principal Fred Vasseur gave his backing to Palmer despite his spin costing the team only their second finish in the top 10 this season.

“It was frustrating, and on Sunday evening I was very disappointed, but the reaction of the team was very good,” Palmer said.

“Sure, I made a mistake which was quite costly because I was in a top-10 position, but I finished 12th which is my second best result, and I still finished ahead of my team-mate.

“The whole weekend I hadn’t put a foot wrong apart from that mistake but it shows the potential and what I can do. Budapest should carry over here, so we should be positive, and have another crack at the top 10.”

Palmer, who will be replaced by the team’s French reserve driver Esteban Ocon in opening practice for the German Grand Prix here in Hockenheim on Friday, is out of contract at the end of the season.

And the Englishman admits he is yet to open talks with Renault over his future beyond this year.

“I’m keen to stay on and in every race show what I can do,” Palmer added. “The team’s in no rush, the team’s got a lot to sort out for next year, and I’m happy to wait for the moment.

“I feel fine, I am driving pretty well at the moment, and everyone in the team can see that as well. Every weekend I’m getting stronger and stronger.”

Away from Germany, the Formula One Strategy Group, which consists of the sport’s major players, met in Geneva on Thursday to hold a crunch summit on whether to introduce the halo – the controversial cockpit protection device – from next season.

The FIA is keen to improve driver-head safety following a number of high-profile incidents in recent years.

Last year, Frenchman Jules Bianchi died from the head injuries he sustained at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. The halo, however, would not have saved his life.

And Palmer, the former GP2 champion, who has already been vocal in his opposition of the halo which was first trialled in pre-season testing, believes the majority of his peers are hopeful it does not become mandatory.

Palmer said: “Most people I speak to are against it but don’t really voice it, so I think there’s a bit of a divide. Some of the older guys prefer it and the younger guys don’t.

“It wouldn’t have saved a life in F1 for 20 years or even prevented an injury and there’s other downsides like the visibility, so I’d prefer without.”