Friday tester Sergey Sirotkin was quicker than Renault’s rookie British driver Jolyon Palmer at Sochi, and it will now be reserve driver Esteban Ocon’s turn at the wheel of the banana car in practice for the forthcoming Spanish grand prix.
Palmer was always considered at best, a solid driver in the lower formulae despite his GP2 championship win, albeit in the best car/team by far and only in his fourth season in the series. After a bright start in Australia Jolyon’s race in China was poor, although it seems his Renault had a suspect floor which was since changed for Russia thus improving his mysterious handling issues.
“First of all I want to note that, compared with Friday, when he had problems, he made significant progress,” Renault team boss Frédéric Vasseur said post race in Russia.
“In the race he showed good pace. After the incident with Carlos Sainz it was more difficult, but he did the job. The team should have more stable race weekends if we want to achieve better results,” Frenchman Vasseur added.
The highly rated Ocon could well show Palmer up should he impress in Spain, potentially returning those question marks over the Brit’s abilities who clearly has had a leg up in motorsport from his father’s fortune and influence.