Jolyon Palmer 'enjoyed' new format in Melbourne F1 qualifying

Jolyon Palmer says Formula 1's unpopular new qualifying session was actually a lot of fun at the back of the field and spices up Q1 at least

Jolyon Palmer 'enjoyed' new format in Melbourne F1 qualifying

Though Q3 ended with an anti-climax and no cars on track at all in the final minutes, Q1 had started with a scramble to set early times.

Palmer and Renault team-mate Kevin Magnussen both made it through before falling in Q2, where they ended up 14th and 15th.

Asked by Autosport for his feelings on the new elimination format, Palmer replied: "I enjoyed it, but I seem to be in the minority.

"It's fun because you need to keep your head above water.

"For the first laps you need to keep ahead of Manor and you've got to always not be last.

"You've got enough time to come in and out - we used three sets of tyres - and all the time you've got to improve because the track's improving and your rivals are improving as well.

"I enjoyed the challenge of digging deeper and deeper and finding more and more."

He said a team in Renault's position had been able to take a different approach to qualifying than those who breezed through to the later stages then lacked sufficient tyres to try to beat the elimination cut-offs.

"The team did a really good job to fully understand the rules," Palmer said.

"You need to set yourself targets on what you want to achieve or you're going to get caught out.

"We knew that for us getting into Q2 would be a good result so we targeted doing a lap straightaway to make sure you're not out, then turn around as quickly as possible and then just keep improving."

While he enjoyed his role in qualifying, Palmer admitted that Q3 was a poor spectacle.

"What I enjoyed in Q1 was it was building up, and I was the one on the bubble who had the chance to improve at the end," he said.

"I was trying to get better and beat the drop. That didn't happen in Q3 and that's disappointing for the fans."

CAUGHT OUT BY McLAREN

Palmer admitted Renault was surprised to find itself behind the two McLarens on the grid.

"They've actually found a lot of performance compared to what we thought," he said.

"I was thinking we might be ahead of them but they've obviously been holding something back a bit in testing.

"The guys behind us are quick as well. Haas have got some pace. Sauber are very close with us."

He said outqualifying team-mate Kevin Magnussen for his F1 debut was a result he had "not really" expected and remained relaxed about his first GP start.

"I'm excited for it, I'm just taking everything in my stride," Palmer said.

"Still not feeling huge pressure, just giving my best. Go out there, thrash it round, hopefully do well, not crash it, finish in the top 10..."

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