Palmer happy to make Q3, but wanted better than tenth

© XPB 

It really hadn't been looking like being a breakthrough weekend for Renault in Bahrain. But that all changed in qualifying on Saturday.

For the first time, the team was able to put both cars through to the final top ten pole shootout. It's a particular achievement for Jolyon Palmer, who has never made it into Q3 before in his 22 Grand Prix appearances.

"I'm pleased because it's my best ever qualifying session," said the 26-year-old driver. "It's Q3 for the first time. And I've seen the full hour of qualifying, which is nice."

Early in qualifying, Palmer had looked to be struggling. At one point he was deep in the Q1 drop zone before a final flying lap saw him safely through.

"Jo staged a fantastic recovery after a tricky weekend so far," commented Renault F1 sporting director Alan Permane. "He followed a difficult FP3 by improving steadily all the way through qualifying."

"We've had such a tough weekend this weekend," Palmer acknowledged. "I've been really trying to work out where the performance is.

"I think we found something on the set-up before qualifying and then it was much better."

Having made it through to the final round of qualifying, Palmer sais that he was nonetheless disappointed with his final run of the day.

"I didn't do a very good Q3 lap. I put myself into the wrong engine mode at some point as well, so I didn't get the energy deployment," he said. "So it could have gone better."

All of which means he will start from tenth on the grid for today's Bahrain Grand Prix. His team mate Nico Hulkenberg will start from seventh place for the second week in a row.

"Obviously Nico's done a rapid lap there as well," said Palmer. "We do stand a good chance to score points tomorrow."

GALLERY: All the pictures from Saturday in Bahrain

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