Palmer disagrees with the race management: ‘He’s pretty lucky with that’

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Palmer disagrees with the race management: 'He's pretty lucky with that'

Jolyon Palmer has strongly criticized Daniel Ricciardo and the Williams team after the Grand Prix. The British analyst looked at three incidents over the weekend, three of which involved a Williams driver. The clock is starting to tick for Daniel Ricciardo and Logan Sargeant.

Palmer himself drove in Formula 1 in 2016 and 2017, and now analyzes the on-track action on behalf of F1TV. After a weekend in Suzuka, Palmer started the starting crash between Alexander Albon and Ricciardo, which forced the race to be stopped. “The different tire compounds caused big differences at the start,” says Palmer. ‘Fernando Alonso started with the soft tyres, just like many drivers outside the top ten. Alonso had a very good start, but Lando Norris caught him very well, first on the inside and then on the outside, partly because it is a narrow circuit with grass next to the asphalt.’

Albon and Ricciardo

Palmer then looks at the chaos in midfield. ‘The Visa Cash App RB cars started on the medium tyres, with many drivers behind them on the soft tyres. That difference was enormous, and also caused the crash between Daniel Ricciardo and Alexander Albon. Daniel looked very nervous and had to make a lot of corrections. I don’t think RB did a good job of warming up the tires properly. This made Ricciardo vulnerable on the inside and outside. Albon was invited to go for the gap, and then was cut off. “He was not to blame for this at all, but he does have a damaged chassis again,” is how Palmer summarizes Albon’s bad luck.

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Palmer disagrees with the race management: 'He's pretty lucky with that'
The wall had to be repaired during the red flag.

According to Palmer, Ricciardo did not blame his retirement on bad luck, but on his own mistake. ‘On board with Ricciardo we see that he is not looking in the right mirror. It is also difficult if you are overtaken left and right. Your courage then sinks. He looks in the left mirror as he comes out and sees Lance Stroll,” Palmer sees. ‘Then he wants to swerve to the right to properly approach the next bend. The mistake he makes is not looking in the right mirror, where Albon was already sitting much further next to him. So he goes to the right and hits Albon.’

Ricciardo escaped punishment

‘Ricciardo made quite an extreme change of direction, pushing Albon completely off the track. There was no penalty for Ricciardo, and in my opinion he is quite lucky with that,” says Palmer. “It was completely his fault that he didn’t leave room for the driver on the outside. Race officials said it was a first-round incident and that this can happen. The consequences were quite serious. Ricciardo was already under a lot of pressure, and Williams lost its best driver in the race. Once again they have a damaged chassis and lost many spare parts. Williams is now really in the corner where the blows are falling.’

Sargeant stumbles in Suzuka

For Williams it was neither the first nor the last trip through the Japanese gravel trap. ‘It was already a tough weekend for Williams anyway. Logan Sargeant crashed in the first free practice,” said Palmer. ‘It came out wide and it was a hard hit. He really can’t afford that. He did few laps at Suzuka, and was probably poorly aware of the track limits. He rode on the soft tires for the first time, and did not realize in time that he was coming too wide through the bend. He kept going full throttle, and only realized when the curb disappeared and the grass came that he was in trouble. He tried to steer to the left, but with so much steering input on the grass you have no chance.’

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Palmer disagrees with the race management: 'He's pretty lucky with that'
Sargeant caused significant damage to Williams.

For the American it was not the last incident of the weekend. ‘In the race he went too wide in the Degner corners and was lucky to escape without damage. He’s inaccurate in general with his steering, and he can’t afford that. Sargeant really has to prove himself, and was doing quite well up until that point. The lines Sargeant takes differ from round to round, which explains why he sometimes seems to make random mistakes. That happens to Logan (Sargeant, ed.) a little too often.’

Williams in trouble

Palmer sees that problems are piling up for the British team. ‘Williams is in serious trouble: Albon’s chassis has been sent back to Great Britain. Another damaged chassis, and again no points. Albon was simply unlucky in Suzuka, and Sargeant was promising in certain areas, but made a mistake he cannot afford. As a team, Williams needs to get its act together.” While Ricciardo has to take Liam Lawson into account, Andrea Kimi Antonelli is already seen as an option at Williams. The Italian turns 18 in August.

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