Out of the blocks - Q&A with Jolyon Palmer

Spa kick-starts the second-half of the season and Jolyon Palmer is keen to hit the ground running with a bright outing on the legendary circuit.

There are some cool corners at Spa, what are they like to drive?
The first thing that hits you is Eau Rouge, it’s just incredible. You see it on TV, or on the on-boards, and it looks awesome but to drive it is simply immense. Nothing prepares you for heading flat out down the hill and then coming up the other side and down that straight. Pouhon will be an exciting corner this year, it brings a real challenge as it’s a very quick double apex left. Blanchimont is flat and leads into the Bus Stop chicane, which is a great overtaking place.

How have you fared in your races in Spa?
I won a race in Spa back in 2008 in the Formula Palmer Audi series. I remember it was wet – which is fairly typical for Spa! I’ve been on the podium in GP2 there but missed the win in that class. I was on the front row in 2014 in GP2 and had a decent F1 qualifying last year. I’ve had some good memories but I’m driven to make some more.

How do you sum up the first eleven races?
It’s been challenging, but there is definitely good potential from me and the car. The 2017 regulations mean a car that’s very different from before, so you have to relearn how to extract the maximum performance from it. Getting the right set-up is difficult and this is compounded when you miss out on track time for whatever reason. I’m looking forward and focusing on my own performance and I’m working hard to understand everything to ensure I have good races.

Did you enjoy the summer break?
It was good to have a bit of chill out time and recharge a little bit. I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro which was very tough but also highly rewarding. It was nice to be cut off from the world for a week and see a change of scenery, but I’m ready to get back to work again.