Jolyon Palmer revealed he could not see past his own steering wheel as he crashed out of a sodden Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The Renault Sport Formula One driver was forced to race in the wet weather and treacherous conditions which resulted in several high-speed accidents, two red flag stoppages and five safety cars.
It wasn’t the celebratory weekend Palmer was hoping for after his seat with the French team, which had been in major doubt, for next year was confirmed last week.
The race took just over three hours to complete having started under the safety car and saw two red flags postpone racing.
A first crash by Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson on the pit straight brought the safety car back out.
Six laps later there was a restart, only for Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari to suffer a frightening-looking crash on the straight just after the start line, prompting race director Charlie Whiting to stop the race for the first time.
Thirty-five minutes later, the race started again under the safety car, only to be stopped again seven laps later when conditions were deemed too dangerous.
After another 25-minute delay, it was restarted, the safety car pulling in after three laps but there were 16 laps of racing before Felipe Massa’s crash.
That led to another safety car period, this time for seven laps, before the race was restarted and ran to the end.
Palmer made contact with Daniil Kvyat on lap 20 just before the second red flag period during which the team inspected his car and decided to retire him due to suspension damage.
He had started the race in 16th place on new wet tyres and stopped on lap nine for a new set of intermediate tyres and on lap 17 for a new set of wet tyres.
The Southwater driver said: “The conditions were very difficult and unfortunately we had to retire following contact with Kvyat.
“I had some more grip at that point on full wet tyres and I was faster than cars in front on intermediates. I wanted to make up some places.
“In the end the visibility was so bad that I couldn’t even see past my steering wheel. I didn’t see where the corner went, I knew that there was the pitwall and pitlane somewhere; I just couldn’t see anything.
“Kvyat in front of me was slower and I hit him. Around the lap, the visibility wasn’t too bad and there were some places where you aquaplaned but coming up the hill you had no traction and couldn’t see if you were behind anyone else.
“You had to guess where you were going, there was water on track and rivers of water running across. It was really tricky.”
Team-mate Kevin Magnussen managed to see-out the conditions for an 18th-placed finish.
Team principal Fred Vasseur said: “It was a tough afternoon for the team and a tricky race in wet weather conditions for everyone. The biggest issue we encountered was the performance of our car with the full wet tyres.
“Unfortunately Jolyon sustained front suspension damage when he hit Kvyat and we had to retire him.”
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