F1 rookie Jolyon Palmer says he will enter next weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix “more relaxed” after his series debut with Renault in Australia went “smoothly”.
The Briton finished a solid 11th in Melbourne after running in the points-paying positions until the closing stages of the opening race. Having served as Lotus’ reserve driver last year, Palmer had not raced since winning the 2014 GP2 Series 18 months earlier.
The 25-year-old was pleased to see he did not experience any rustiness on his return to competitive action.
“It felt completely normal,” Palmer said. “The difference from GP2 to F1 is that there are bigger variables. People are on different tyres and strategies, so you have to work out whether you can realistically fight and keep position, but it was not a problem. I had some good battles and really enjoyed it.
“I will be more relaxed now I have one race under my belt, particularly as I finished all 58 laps.”
Unlike Melbourne’s Albert Park, Palmer has already competed at Bahrain International Circuit. The Briton hopes to build on his previous experience of the Middle-East venue to extend the momentum of his positive F1 debut.
“I raced there in GP2 and it’s a track I have been successful on in the past. I won the last race I did there, then I also had a podium. I also drove in practice last year. The track is OK.
“There are a lot of straights so plenty of overtaking opportunities, so we will find out more about the car in this trim. There is a lot of track evolution as it is very sandy at the start of weekend, and then the track gets more and more rubber down, so conditions change a lot.
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“I feel much more comfortable [than] after pre-season testing and am looking forward to going to a track I know and have won at before.”
Technical analysis – Melbourne
Scene at the Australian Grand Prix
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