Renault Sport Formula One Team unfortunately could not capitalise on its best-ever qualifying performance in today’s Belgian Grand Prix. Kevin Magnussen had lined up twelfth, just in front of Jolyon Palmer for the 44-lap race. After a strong start, Jolyon was running seventh and Kevin eighth, but a heavy crash for Kevin on lap five led to his premature retirement from the race. Jolyon held station after the resultant red flag, but suffered tyre degradation during the race and finished in fifteenth overall.
Jolyon had a very strong start and moved from thirteenth to seventh by lap five. When the safety car was deployed he came to the pits for a first stop and after a subsequent red flag was caught between the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat and Haas of Romain Grosjean. The trio remained closely matched throughout the race, although were passed by the Ferraris and Williams.
Jolyon made three pit stops as he suffered with tyre degradation and rising temperatures. After starting on soft tyres, he pitted on lap six for soft tyres, then lap 22 to change to medium and finally lap 34 to switch to supersoft.
Kevin made the most of a chaotic start and was running behind his team-mate in eighth. However he ran over a kerb at the exit of Eau Rouge and went heavily into the barriers. He exited the car unaided but was taken to the medical centre as a precaution. Initial checks revealed a cut to his left ankle and he was taken to a nearby hospital for further routine assessments. Kevin was fully conscious and responsive throughout.
Jolyon Palmer, #30, R.S.16-02: Started P13, finished P15
“We had our best qualifying here. Both cars had a great start and ran in the top ten for a while. We could have had a strong race but the safety car pulled a lot of people back into play. It’s a shame not to get better results in the end but this weekend has been better than we expected overall. I saw Kevin crash in my rear mirrors. It’s not nice to see because it’s a really, really fast part of the track. I’m glad he’s ok.”
Fred Vasseur, Team Principal
“Our first concern today was with Kevin after his big accident in Eau Rouge. He was able to leave the car unaided and was taken to the medical centre as a precaution. He was responsive throughout but had a cut on his ankle that required some further checks so was taken to hospital in Verviers. Jolyon had a very good start and was racing very hard, but had some problems with tyre degradation that dropped him back down the order. It’s a shame as we had had the strongest qualifying of the year and had shown that we had taken some steps forward with the car yet again. I hope we can keep the stronger form going in Monza and are able to fully capitalise in the race.”