Palmer’s farewell to tough season

The Japanese Grand Prix would turn out to be Jolyon Palmer’s last with Renault Picture: Renault Sport Formula One Team

Jolyon Palmer bid farewell to Renault and possibly to Formula One with a 12th-place finish in the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday.

The Enstone-based team announced over the weekend that Suzuka would be Palmer’s last with them after almost two seasons.

Carlos Sainz, who Renault had already signed for 2018, will join Nico Hulkenberg at the team from the next race in the United States.

Palmer started towards the back in Japan because of grid penalties, but put in a solid performance to move up through the field and finish close behind Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso’s battle for the final point.

His departure comes after only managing one points-scoring result this season, a sixth-place finish in Singapore last month.

Palmer said: “We had a solid last race. We started from the back and with one more lap, I think we could have had 10th.

“It’s been a tough season but the team and I have been through a lot, I’ve been here since the start of this new era for the team.

“We’ve come a long way and I’ve enjoyed it, and I wish the team all the best in the future.”

Hulkenberg had been in with a chance of a decent haul of points before an unusual failure ended his race early.

The DRS mechanism on his rear wing became stuck fully open on lap 41, meaning Hulkenberg had very little downforce in the corners.

He came into the pits for repairs, but the problem proved terminal and he had to retire.

Hulkenberg had been running right behind the two Haas cars when the failure struck and was on much fresher tyres, meaning eighth place at least was on the table.

He said: “That was frustrating as a good points haul was possible.

“A small metal component broke on the DRS mechanism which left it stuck open, so we’ll look at why it broke as we missed a good opportunity.

“I’m sure we can fight back, the car was pretty decent in the race and there’s plenty more to come from us in the final four grand prix.”

The next race is the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas on October 22.

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