Jolyon Palmer secured 18th on the grid for the Austrian Grand Prix as both Renault Sport Formula One Team drivers qualified in formation, without the ultimate pace in the car required to reach Q2.
There was no time wasted as Jolyon’s R.S.16 was fitted with a set of purple-striped Pirelli ultra-soft tyres and sent straight out of the pit lane – the first car onto the circuit at the start of qualifying at the Red Bull Ring.
A sighter lap early on was beaten second time around as the young British F1 rookie outdid his best FP3 time by a second, set earlier in the day on the same rubber, to send him 12th midway through Q1.
Quick work from the Renault mechanics had turned both Jolyon and team-mate Kevin Magnussen around for a third timed lap, which was to be scuppered by a red flag halting the session as a result of a shunt for Toro Rosso’s Dany Kvyat.
With just one-and-three-quarter minutes to run following the stoppage, Jolyon left the garage to join the queue of cars waiting for the green light and the chance for one more timed run.
Yellow flags didn’t help the cause as the Jolyon sought to escape the drop zone and despite some hard-charging, he found himself in 18th spot, missing out on Q2 – as did fellow Renault man Magnussen, whose 17th position was just 0.024s faster.
“I think with the fresh tyres after the red flag we could maybe have had a nibble at Q2 but to be honest it was a three-tenth gap in the end,” said the 25-year-old Southwater racer. “There may be a tenth or a tenth-and-a-half within me so we are where we are at the moment.”
"The car has felt better this weekend, more consistent and stable but we just didn’t have quite enough to qualify better. Race strategy is a bit unknown due to the track resurfacing which has meant higher degradation, and the ultra-softs lose their bite pretty quickly, so we’ll be looking for every chance to move forwards.”
Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix will begin at 1pm UK time.