Jolyon Palmer says it is “frustrating” to finish his first F1 race on the fringes of the points-paying positions, but the Briton is confident the Australian Grand Prix will prove to be a good “building block” for Renault.
Having started from 13th in Melbourne, Palmer climbed up to ninth when he came under intense pressure from Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen.
Although the former GP2 Series champion managed to hold off the charging duo for several laps, he eventually dropped out of the top 10 in the space of two corners.
“It was a good race, but a bit frustrating to be 11th,” Palmer said.
“I'm happy, I had a good start, no major incidents, it's just a little frustrating as one more place would have been good.
“I saw a yellow flag with a few laps to go and thought, 'yeah, go on, this is going to be someone off in the wall, but no!’”
Despite his mild disappointment, Palmer admits he could not have extracted more performance from his R.S.16 and found solace in the fact that both he and team-mate Kevin Magnussen finished ahead of Sergio Perez’s Mercedes-powered Force India.
“We didn't have any more pace in the car, the Toro Rossos were trying to pass me every corner, so there was no way to hold them off for long enough.
“The guys in front, we couldn't really have beaten. We did well to beat a Force India at least.
“We need to have this as a building block and move forward.”