Jolyon Palmer reflected on a disappointing final race of his maiden Formula One campaign as the season reached its climax in Abu Dhabi.
All eyes were on the race leaders in the final race of the season as Nico Rosberg won his first world championship despite Lewis Hamilton claiming victory in the desert.
While that was going on Southwater’s Palmer was making a bid for his best finish of his career in the early stages of the Grand Prix.
He made a great start from 15th to end the first lap in 11th position, however he struggled with tyre degradation later in the race and also received a five-second penalty for contact made with Carlos Sainz.
Team-mate Kevin Magnussen - in his last race for the team - was forced into an early retirement due to suspension damage as a result of contact in the first lap.
Renault Sport Formula One Team ended the year in ninth position in the Constructors’ Championship with Magnussen 16th and Palmer 18th in the Drivers’ Championship.
Palmer said: “I had a really good start - up to 11th - and was keeping pace with the Williams for a while, but unfortunately the tyre degradation was unbelievable for us. The overall pace was okay, but the tyres were running out, which meant I had to do three stops.
“I was trying to fight with everyone through the race but I had no grip which makes it very difficult.
“I tried to pass Carlos as he left a gap, but he braked a bit early and I had no grip to slow down. It’s a real shame.”
Team principal Fred Vasseur added: “That was not the Grand Prix we wanted to end our season. The result should not detract from all the progress made at Viry and Enstone over the last year as we will be in a far better position to fight for more points next season.
“Thank you to Kevin in his final race for us, he is a popular driver and we wish him well for the future. Congratulations to this year’s champions, Nico Rosberg and Mercedes AMG.
“They have shown us how championships can be won with fine displays through the season. We hope to be giving them more of a challenge over the next few years.”
Palmer will partner the recently-recruited Nico Hulkenberg at the French team next season.