Palmer: No issues returning to racing after year out

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Jolyon Palmer says he felt “completely normal” when making his Formula 1 debut in Australia last weekend despite having gone over a year without taking part in a race.

Palmer won the GP2 Series title in 2014 before joining Lotus as a reserve driver, which while giving him plenty of track time in practice and testing meant he was not racing wheel-to-wheel with other drivers.

Palmer finished 11th in Melbourne for Renault, and enjoyed some particularly close on-track battles with Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz Jr. as he eased back into racing once again.

“It felt completely normal,” Palmer said.

“The difference from GP2 to F1 is that there are bigger variables. People are on different tires and strategies, so you have to work out whether you can realistically fight and keep position.

“But it was not a problem. I had some good battles and really enjoyed it.”

Palmer is looking forward to next weekend’s race in Bahrain, where he was a winner in GP2 and has tested an F1 car on the track before.

“I raced there in GP2 and it’s a track I have been successful on in the past. I won the last race I did there, then I also had a podium,” Palmer said.

“I also drove in practice last year. I will be more relaxed now I have one race under my belt, particularly as I finished all 58 laps.

“I feel much more comfortable after pre-season testing and am looking forward to going to a track I know and have won at before.”