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Palmer sent to the back of the class by grid penalty

© XPB 

Renault's Jolyon Palmer had a tough time of it in qualifying, finding himself unable to show the same sort of pace of his team mate Nico Hulkenberg to make it into Q2.

“The car felt good today. I was ninth in FP3 so there’s clearly pace," he said. "I then had a flat spot on the first run during Q1, which made my second run critical.

"That lap was going well – to comfortably put me into Q2 – when the yellow flags came out and I had to lift."

As a result of lifting off, Palmer failed to make it into the second round of qualifying.

The flags had been for an accident involving Sauber's Antonio Giovinazzi in the last corner. Palmer felt he'd lifted off enough to observe the local caution, but he was subsequently handed a grid penalty.

The race stewards concluded that Palmer had "made no attempt to significantly reduce speed in the area of a double waved yellow flag".

Palmer disagreed with their finding: "I lost a second in the last sector, I slowed a lot," he said immediately after the incident.

"I knew there was a problem in the last corner," he added. "If they look at the data, they'll see that I was basically cruising across the line."

Palmer had provisionally qualified in 18th place, so the five-place grid penalty drops him to the back row. He will be joined there by Haas' Romain Grosjean, who was also penalised by the stewards.

Palmer said there was nothing he could do about the decision. Now he had to look forward to fighting his way through the pack in tomorrow's race.

"It’s really frustrating but at least we can see the potential is there. The car feels great but it’s all to do tomorrow."

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