Palmer: To hustle the car around Monaco was great

Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS17.'Monaco Grand Prix, Saturday 27th May 2017. Monte Carlo, Monaco.
Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS17.'Monaco Grand Prix, Saturday 27th May 2017. Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Jolyon Palmer was satisfied with his best-finish of the season - despite finishing just outside the points - in Sunday’s iconic Monaco Grand Prix.

An 11th-placed finish resulted from a mistake-free drive in the mean streets of Monte Carlo as the Southwater driver came home just 1.3 seconds away from the points.

The Renault Sport Formula 1 Team racer had started 16th after another first-session elimination in qualifying, but kept his nose out of trouble to profit from the mistakes and retirements ahead of him to gain five places from his grid slot.

Team-mate Nico Hülkenberg, who had been running in the top ten, was curtailed in his quest to storm up the order due to a gearbox issue on lap 16. The team retain seventh position in the Constructors’ Championship.

Palmer said: “I’m happy with the race, the pace was pretty good and there were no mistakes. I enjoyed it; to hustle the car around Monaco for 78 laps was great and the tyres were hanging on, so you could really push the whole way through, which was stellar.

“It’s pretty hard to overtake here, so 11th from P16 was it, and just one second away from getting the first point of the year! It felt much better than P11 and we can take this momentum to Canada.”

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took the honours in the tight streets to extend his championship lead over Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who finished seventh, to 25 points.

Vettel led home team-mate Kimi Raikkonen after passing the Finn by running longer to their only pit stops, with Ferrari later denying any prioritising of their drivers despite Raikkkonen’s clear frustrations.

A late safety car provided some drama after a collision involving McLaren’s Jenson Button, on his one-off return to F1 in place of Fernando Alonso, who was on Indy 500 duty.

Renault Sport managing director Cyril Abiteboul said: “Generally speaking it was a disappointing weekend at the end of this Monaco Grand Prix where we really wanted to continue our strong run of progression in the Championship.

“The team did a lot of work on Friday that allowed us to address a challenging situation after Thursday practice and to assure two respectable positions on the grid.

“Our analysis showed there was a risk with Nico’s gearbox, but we chose to keep it in the car to avoid a penalty if we made a change.

“To score points at our current level, you have to take risks. That is motor racing and today it didn’t pay off. It is frustrating because Nico had good pace.

“Joylon drove a good race and made no mistakes, which is good for his confidence. Now this confidence should see him qualify better in order to be in a position to score points on Sunday.”