Jolyon Palmer enjoyed a solid opening practice session at the Red Bull Ring in Austria earlier today (1 July), before a downpour interrupted proceedings during the afternoon run.

The young Briton clocked an encouraging 28 trouble-free laps in the morning, as he worked on the ultra-soft Pirelli tyre throughout the 90-minute session.

Jolyon had stated that Austria should suit the car a lot better prior to the weekend, and initial results suggest that may be the case as the Renault Sport R.S.16 ran closer to the midfield than at recent rounds.

The 25-year-old ended up 17th overall in FP1 with a lap time of 1m09.851s, which was just half a second shy of Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India some five places up the order. 

Free Practice 2 got off to productive start as Jolyon jumped into the top ten on the super-soft tyre. He was lying in a credible 13th, and still on track, when the heavens opened just ten minutes into the session. Many drivers were caught out in the now impossible conditions, as the gaggle of cars crawled back to the pits on Pirelli slicks.

The Renaults reappeared once the storm had eventually passed, as Jolyon took to the track on the intermediate compound while the 2.69-mile circuit was drying under the returning sun.

It remained wet off-line for the remainder of Friday’s action, although Jolyon was able to switch to the ultra-soft tyre late on.

Just when it looked like some improvements could be made, however, the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel speared off the circuit and into the gravel – bringing out the red flags and a premature end to the session. 

Jolyon was 16th in the final classification, having completed 23 laps in the afternoon and a total of 51 for the day. He’ll be back for the final practice session tomorrow morning, before the all-important qualifying session gets underway at 1pm UK time.

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