Palmer targeting Q2, first F1 points at home race

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Jolyon Palmer hopes to end his point-less start to life in Formula 1 by picking up his first top 10 finish in this weekend’s British Grand Prix.

2014 GP2 Series champion Palmer joined Renault at the beginning of the season, racing alongside Kevin Magnussen following the French manufacturer’s takeover of Lotus.

However, the Briton is yet to score any points in F1, recording a best finish of 11th in his opening nine races, coming in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Palmer has reached the second stage of qualifying just one so far in F1, finishing 17th or lower in all of the Saturday Q1 sessions since the opening race of the year.

Heading to Silverstone for his first home grand prix, Palmer has two key targets: reaching Q2 again, and then scoring points – his belief being that one will lead to the other.

“I think for us we’ve been quite close [to Q2],” Palmer said.

“[In] Montreal I was only 0.015s off Q2, it was really close. Austria as well we were OK but then we had a red flag and struggled to get the last set of tires on.

“We’re not far away. Hopefully this weekend we can find that last bit.

“Once you’re in Q2, you’re starting a few places higher, you’ve got more chance of scoring points.

“They’re the two aims: to get into Q2 and score some points.”

Palmer is relishing the opportunity to race an F1 car in front of his home fans for the first time, being one of three British drivers on the grid at Silverstone this weekend.

“It’s huge. My first British Grand Prix, a race I’ve been looking forward to since the start of the year really,” Palmer said.

“So a track I know really, really well, I’ve been racing here for a long time. And I love the track as well. The layout is awesome, lot of fast corners. You need a lot of commitment but I really enjoy it.

“And then the crowd, which is every year fantastic here. Been coming here myself for many years and now to be racing Formula One here is going to be pretty special.

“So I’m looking forward to it.”

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E

Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.