Jolyon Palmer believes there is very little separating himself and Renault Formula 1 teammate Kevin Magnussen, saying the gap is ordinarily less than one-tenth of a second.
Palmer and Magnussen formed an all-new line-up at Renault upon its return to F1 as a constructor in 2016, replacing the old Lotus pair of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado.
Magnussen has led Renault’s charge so far in 2016, scoring its only top-10 finish in Russia and out-racing Palmer on six occasions.
However, Palmer thinks that the gap to his teammate is negligible as he looks ahead to next weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
“Obviously he’s got a bit more experience than me and he’s had a few of seasons working with a top team so he’s a good yardstick,” Palmer said.
“It’s true he’s been just ahead of me in qualifying at many races but when you look at the actual lap times it’s so very close, we’re talking just a tenth or hundredths.
“Somehow it falls just so very slightly on Kev’s side. The races are often just as close and we’re often fighting for the same piece of track.
“This shows that we’re both generally getting the most out of the car for any given circumstance so this is beneficial for the team.
“I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to be the one who’s a tenth or so quicker in qualifying; maybe we can make that happen in Budapest.”
Palmer is looking forward to getting to grips with the Hungaroring in an F1 car, having previously raced there in GP2.
“Obviously this will be my first grand prix there so there’s lots to think about. In particular, the circuit has been resurfaced so that’s an unknown – it might help us, it might not; we won’t know until we get there!” Palmer said.
“New track surfaces are always a little bit of a venture into the unknown as you don’t know how much grip there will be, how the surface will evolve over the weekend and how the tires will perform with the surface.
“Of course, a new surface doesn’t change the layout or make a significant difference to your approach to a particular circuit but nevertheless it does give an additional focus.”