Jolyon Palmer says he has been encouraged by the progress he made from his first FP1 appearance after another run-out in Bahrain last week.
The 2014 GP2 champion made his Friday practice debut for Lotus in China on a circuit he had never driven at, with Palmer spinning early on as he got to grips with the car. Having been 0.6s slower than team-mate Pastor Maldonado at Shanghai, Palmer cut that gap to 0.4s in Bahrain a week later.
Asked how he feels looking back on his opening to FP1 appearances, Palmer replied: "Very good!
"It’s great to get on track with all the other F1 drivers and to be part of a Grand Prix weekend finally! China was a really good experience as I had so much to learn: the procedures, the track – as China was a new track for me, etc. Shanghai was all about learning as much as possible.
"Then Bahrain was a good opportunity just a week after my first FP1 outing. It’s a circuit that I was already familiar with and where it overall went better. My pace was more competitive, I made no mistake; it was more straightforward."
Reflecting on his spin in China, Palmer admits he feared he had already ended his session.
"I thought ‘Oh s**t!’ I held it together but my heart sank as I went around. I pushed too hard too soon… I couldn’t believe it when I was sliding sideways across the track hoping that I wouldn’t hit anything and luckily I didn’t, and I kept it out of the gravel! I then cleared my head and was ready to get back to my normal session."
Click here for a more light-hearted look at the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend