Jolyon Palmer suffered a miserable maiden British Grand Prix with a botched pit stop and then retirement due to a mechanical problem.
The Southwater driver’s day came to a frustrating end with retirement on lap 38, as his Renault RS16 suffered a suspected gearbox problem leaving fellow Brit Lewis Hamilton grabbing the home headlines.
A safety car start after a typically British summertime downpour ensured that the pack at Silverstone would start on full wet tyres, with Palmer lining up in 18th place in the grid.
When racing did get underway on lap six, half of the field immediately pitted to fit the Pirelli intermediate tyre and the other half, including Palmer, stayed out an extra lap before making the switch.
As the order settled down, the 25-year-old emerged in 17th, just ahead of team-mate Kevin Magnussen, and set off after Romain Grosjean ahead – closing to within a couple of seconds of the Haas man.
Lap 16’s stop for the dry tyres saw Palmer released by the Renault Sport Formula One Team crew with only three of four wheels fixed to the car. He made it ten metres down the pit lane where the mechanics then had to pull the car back into place, at a cost of over 20 seconds, before the right-rear could be reattached.
The delay was compounded by a ten second stop/go penalty for that unsafe release by the team – the journey in and out of the pit lane, including the penalty itself, costing Palmer a further 40 seconds in total.
He was then lapped by the race leaders where the Renault man was obliged to obey blue flags. Retirement compounded a disappointing day, while team-mate Magnussen suffered the same feat on lap 50 with the same gearbox issue.
Palmer said: “It wasn’t the result I wanted from my home race. It was going reasonably well on the wet tyres at the beginning of the race.
“What happened was unfortunate but it could happen to anyone up and down the pitlane. We retired the car as there was a strange feeling with the gearbox, more as a precaution as at that stage we were two laps down.
“We’ll now investigate the problem thoroughly. I’m looking forward to the test this week and focusing on the next race weekend.”
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