British driver Jolyon Palmer admitted he suffered only a bruised ego after crashing out of qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix.
Palmer, the 26-year-old from Horsham who is now in his second Formula One season, is in desperate need of a good performance here following a troubled start to the new season.
But he endured another miserable day which climaxed in him losing control of his Renault on the entry to turn four and ending up in the tyre barrier on the opposing side of the Sochi Autodrom track.
“No, just the ego,” Palmer said when asked if he had obtained any bruises in the 110mph shunt. “Under pressure, I committed hard, took a little bit of kerb, and that sent me into the wall.
“It is not going my way but it is a long season. It wasn’t going my way this time last year either. I felt quite good with the car, we were in a good place with the set-up, but it is very disappointing to put it in the wall like that.”
Palmer’s year has so far been blighted by a combination of an unreliable car, mistakes and bad luck. He qualified a career-high 10th in Bahrain a fortnight ago only to finish last of the classified runners as he struggled for pace in the race.
Here, his Renault mechanics worked through the night to replace his chassis after an exhaust leak was detected. Then his engine failed in final practice on Saturday morning before he crashed out and failed to progress to the second phase of qualifying.
Palmer is due to start 16th, but to make matters worse his new team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, who has had no major mechanical issues this season, qualified an impressive eighth.
“It is nicer to be full of confidence, get good results, and you know where you are with the car,” Palmer added. “But when you are on the backfoot you need a bit of a reset and a bit of something to get the confidence cycle going. At the moment that has not happened.
“I am the first to admit that my performance has not been where I want it to be. I need to cut out the mistakes I have made.
“I am sure that at some point the luck will turn. Like I said, this time last year, there were tough times and I dug in and finished the year with a very good second half. We are not even a quarter of a way through the year so there are plenty of races to turn it around.”