Jolyon Palmer says he was surprised that a relatively innocuous run across the kerbs in final practice was enough to crack his Renault chassis.
The Briton was on his third lap in final free practice on Saturday when he ran wide at the final corner and over the kerb – thinking at the time he had caused only minor damage to the floor.
It was only after the session and shortly before qualifying that Renault discovered a crack in the chassis near the seat-belt mounts. A replacement car could not be readied in time for him to take part.
“The team were doing the set down and saw a crack in it,” explained Palmer. “We knew there was a bit of floor damage in FP3, but to be honest the touch I did on the kerb really wasn’t that big.
“I knew that there might well be a bit of floor damage but at no point did it cross my mind that it could have done more than that. Then we were just debriefing and saw the chassis damage. So that was that.”
Palmer said the incident with the kerb had been pretty minor, and certainly not enough for him to feel any concern.
“Coming out of the last corner on to the start-finish straight, it was about an inch the other side. It was enough to straddle but it wasn’t a very big touch.
“So I was thinking the car might be completely fine, even no floor damage, so it obviously did a lot more damage than it felt.”
Palmer said the frustrations of the situation he found himself in was increased by the fact that he is currently trying all he can to convince his Renault bosses to keep him for next year.
“I would say it is more frustrating because there were three qualifying sessions left and I cannot do one of them - especially when I was feeling really good and especially on the back of two really good performances in qualifying and a good FP3 showing.
“We had everything coming together for qualifying again, to do the same job, and I can’t show it.
“And even more [annoying was] when I am watching and I see [Daniil] Kvyat have a problem and Haas not performing.
“I think Q2 was there and I am sure I could do a very good qualifying. It is frustrating because I could see the opportunity was there, so I have to show what I can do from the back.”