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Jolyon Palmer confirms Renault F1 exit after Suzuka

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Jolyon Palmer will make his final Formula 1 appearance for Renault in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix, announcing his departure from the team after the Suzuka race.

Palmer was set to leave Renault after two difficult years at the end of the season following the team’s signing of Carlos Sainz Jr. for 2018, and had reportedly been offered a pay-off to leave early.

Palmer stressed he would see out the season, sticking to his contract, but announced on Instagram on Saturday after qualifying that Suzuka would be his final race for Renault.

“Tomorrow’s Japanese GP will be my last race for Renault,” Palmer wrote.

“With my grid penalty I’ll be starting near the back but I will be giving it my all as always.

“Thanks everyone for the support during the last two years, it means a lot!”

Renault had been pushing to bring Sainz in early and replace Palmer, with confirmation of the Spaniard completing the final four races of the year expected to follow shortly.

With Sainz moving up from Toro Rosso to Renault, a seat would be free for Daniil Kvyat to return and partner Pierre Gasly, who replaced the Russian in Malaysia last weekend.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.