Renault Sport Formula One Team driver Jolyon Palmer broke into the Q2 qualifying session for the fourth time this season, qualifying in sixteenth position for tomorrow’s Emirates Japanese Grand Prix. Jolyon’s 1min 32.807secs lap was two tenths quicker than Kevin Magnussen, who will start from eighteenth position on the grid. Both drivers posted top ten times in this morning’s FP3 practice at Suzuka Circuit, however grip proved elusive come the afternoon qualifying session.

Kevin Magnussen, #20, R.S.16-04, Q: P18 1:33.023. FP3: P9 1:33.639
“We had good pace in FP3 this morning and looked strong, so I was hopeful for qualifying, especially as the car and conditions felt similar to this morning. We seem to lose pace, however, which was surprising. Maybe others picked up theirs, I’ll have to look at the data. In the position we are now to start tomorrow’s race, a bit of rain might not be bad! Regardless, we will race as hard as always and we all know a lot can happen in 53 laps.”

Jolyon Palmer, #30, R.S.16-05, Q: P16 1:32.807. FP3: P8: 1:33.639
“On the one hand I’m quite pleased; I think we did well to get into Q2. Unfortunately I had a yellow flag on my final lap in the session and that probably cost a couple of tenths, which would have put me 12th or 13th so that’s a little bit disappointing. We started 19th and scored a point last weekend in Malaysia, so there is definitely a chance to do the same tomorrow. We’re looking similarly competitive, the race will be long and tyre strategy will play a hand… There are a lot of similarities to the last time out so we’ll keep pushing and see what happens.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
Strategy will be key…

How was qualifying for the team?
It’s fair to say that we didn’t qualify as well as we would have hoped, although it was great to see Jolyon progress through to Q2 today. The car has been working very well here this weekend and we had a productive morning. For some reason however, we struggled with grip this afternoon despite the cars remaining reasonably well balanced. Both drivers reported a general lack of grip and that’s what we will look into overnight.

What are the considerations for tomorrow’s race?
Starting in 16th and 18th on the grid here at Suzuka Circuit won’t be easy and we will work on race strategies with the three types of tyres available for tomorrow’s race. We are expecting similar weather conditions to today, though perhaps a little bit cooler, and no rain.