As in China last Friday the Third and Reserve Driver for Lotus F1 Team took over duties behind the wheel from Romain Grosjean in FP1.
Jolyon Palmer impressed in Free Practice One at the Bahrain International Circuit as he ended this afternoon's (Friday) session in 14th position, just 0.441s shy of his more experienced team-mate Pastor Maldonado. Jolyon took a GP2 victory in Bahrain last year on his way to the 2014 title and displayed good track knowledge in his second-ever official Formula One session on a Grand Prix weekend.
As in China last Friday (10 April), the Third and Reserve Driver for Lotus F1 Team took over duties behind the wheel from Frenchman Romain Grosjean in FP1, and he completed 31 laps of the 5.412km circuit whilst working through a packed schedule of aerodynamic and set-up work. It was a blemish-free run for Jolyon compared to a number of other drivers, including team-mate Maldonado, who suffered an off-track excursion, and McLaren driver Jenson Button, who stopped early on at the first corner.
Once more, Jolyon delivered strongly in FP1.
After completing an initial installation lap to check that all systems on his E23 Hybrid were working correctly, Jolyon took to the track for his first stint and posted a time of 1:40.877s, good enough for 16th position as he reacquainted himself with the Sakhir circuit.
The 24-year-old returned to the track with 45-minutes left in the session and immediately jumped to the upper reaches of the timesheets with a 1:39.283s, good enough for fourth place and within half-a-second of the quickest lap held by Force India's Sergio Perez at that time. He was relegated a number of positions as more drivers focused on posting quick laps but still remained in an impressive eighth place with half-an-hour left on the clock.
Jolyon concentrated on a longer run for his final stint, which meant that he would be unable to improve on his earlier time, and he ended Free Practice One in 14th position overall. The Ferrari pairing of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel led the field with the Finn posting a fastest lap of 1:37.827s. Reigning World Champions Mercedes finished FP1 in 15th and 16th respectively, with Nico Rosberg heading team-mate Hamilton as the pair trailed Palmer.
Jolyon said: “It was much smoother than China and it was great to be back in the car so soon after Shanghai, as I felt familiar with the E23 Hybrid and built up to a good pace. I did my best time quite early on in the session but I was happy with my progress throughout.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director, Lotus F1 Team commented: "Once more, Jolyon delivered strongly in FP1. It was hot track conditions out there today and the circuit was the dirtiest it will be all weekend, as is normal for the first practice. Jolyon worked through a standard programme of aero and set-up evaluation, putting in some strong lap times during the course of the session. We made some good progress on set-up and Jolyon set lap times comparable to Pastor's which assists us with our work ahead of Free Practice Two."