Palmer races to best-ever Formula One finish after learning of Renualt axe via the internet

Days after learning via the internet that he would not be driving for Renault next season, Jolyon Palmer produced his career best finish at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Monday, 18th September 2017, 11:52 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 11:51 am

It was a real agony to ecstasy weekend for the 26-year-old driver from Southwater.

He found out he was surplus to requirements at Renault Sport next year by reading at article online announcing that Carlos Sainz was making the switch from Toro Rosso and would be partnering Nico Hülkenberg.

However, that did not dampen Palmer’s spirits and in a wet and action-packed Formula One evening race on Sunday, he secured his first points of a difficult campaign.

He drove a solid race, capitalised on the wet conditions and safety cars to earn a valuable eight points for the team.

After an incident involving cars ahead of him at the start of the race, team-mate Hülkenberg swiftly avoided the drama and advanced four positions in the first lap, but fortunes did not favour him as his car had an oil leak and was force to retire.

Palmer meanwhile also capitalised on incident-hit start which saw eventual winner Lewis Hamilton race into pole position. Palmer was as high as second at one-stage owing to pit stops, but after pitting twice himself, finished sixth - his career best in Formula One.

He said: “I’m so happy, it’s been a long time coming but today everything fell into place. It was a tricky race with the drama at the start and the heavy rain but the circumstances put us in a good place to score some points.

“We had a good strategy, good pit stops and the car was good in the wet conditions. The next race should be even better.”

Luck has not smiled on Palmer previous to Sunday this season and meant he has had a tricky second season in the sport.

He was previously one of only two drivers yet to score a point, but he has refuted claims that despite reports, he could be replaced in the driving seat before the next race in Malaysia.

Palmer is adamant he will see out his contract for the season at Renault and is now looking to impress in the remaining race to try and earn another seat - Williams, Sauber and Force India are yet to announce their 2018 drivers.

As a result of Palmer’s finish in Singapore, Renault moved ahead to seventh position in the Constructors’ Championship with the result.

Managing director Cyril Abiteboul said: “Tonight’s race was exciting and full of action with the rain and many safety cars - as it’s often the case in Singapore. We walk away with mixed feelings. On a positive note, Jolyon was able to get into the points for the first time this season and achieve his best result ever in F1.

“Despite the circumstances, he drove an error-free race on a night where it would have been easy to make many. He was able to help the team in its progress for the Constructors’ Championship, we now sit in seventh place and closer to reaching our goal for fifth position. The final races are well suited for our cars and our target remains unchanged.”