Jolyon Palmer came within a whisker of progressing through to Q2 in qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal today (11 June), missing out by a scant 15 thousandths-of-a-second as yellow flags and drizzle dashed his hopes.
Having kept his powder dry throughout Friday practice, Jolyon lapped a promising 16th quickest around the challenging Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in FP3, a session that came to a premature conclusion following an accident for his Renault Sport Formula One Team stablemate Kevin Magnussen.
Benefitting for the first time from the latest B-specification power unit in his R.S.16, the young British F1 rookie professed himself happy with the car in conditions that were considerably cooler than the previous day.
Jolyon duly went into qualifying in confident mood, flying the flag solo for Renault with Magnussen’s damaged car unable to be repaired in time. Running on the ultra-soft Pirelli tyres, the 25-year-old Southwater racer proved just how hard he was pushing by lightly grazing ‘Champion’s Wall’ on the exit of the final corner.
As the minutes ticked down, he was on the cusp of making the Q2 cut but yellow flags and spots of rain combined to deny him the opportunity to improve, meaning Jolyon fell just 0.015 seconds shy of reaching part two of qualifying for the second time in his fledgling F1 career. He will consequently begin tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix from 17th position.
“That was pretty frustrating, to be honest,” reflected the 2014 GP2 Series Champion. “The battle to make it through to Q2 was incredibly close. I struggled to get heat into my first set of tyres, but I was reasonably happy with my best lap on my second set. Unfortunately, the rain then came down a little at the end which meant we had no chance to go any quicker.”
Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix will begin at 2pm local time (7pm UK time).