Jolyon Palmer: Formula 1 is dog-eat-dog - we all look after number one

By Nathan SaltBBC Sport
Jolyon Palmer
Silverstone will be Palmer's 10th race of his Formula 1 career

Renault driver Jolyon Palmer says the battle between Mercedes pair Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton is "good entertainment" for fans of the sport.

The team-mates clashed on the final lap of Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix before Hamilton went on to win the race.

Hamilton's fellow Briton Palmer - who finished 12th - blamed Rosberg for his "desperate defence" of the lead.

In his first season as an F1 driver, Palmer, 25, is yet to register a point.

With the British Grand Prix at Silverstone approaching this weekend, former Lotus reserve driver Palmer spoke to BBC Sport about team-mate rivalries, Renault's struggles and the ongoing learning process.

Q: What are your thoughts on the Nico Rosberg-Lewis Hamilton clash in Austria?

JP: I think I would lay the blame with Rosberg. I can sympathise with him in that he was leading the race in the last lap and he was in a desperate situation with the brakes going. But ultimately Hamilton was slightly ahead heading into the corner and it was a desperate attempt to salvage by Rosberg.

It didn't pay off and in some ways he was unlucky to damage the front wing, but in some ways lucky they weren't both knocked off and out of the race.

Q: How is your relationship with your Renault team-mate?

JP: It's good. As team-mates go I think we get on pretty well. We've also had our own battles further down the field but they don't get picked up on TV as much.

I quite enjoy it really because me and Kevin [Magnussen] are trying to make our mark. It's a difficult year for Renault as we look to get more competitive but we both want to be there as this team improves.

The team-mate dynamics are difficult because as a driver that's how you are judged. It's judged even more for Mercedes because you are fighting for the Championship and with Lewis being behind he has to take risks because he can't afford to come second to Rosberg anymore. He's trying to make up ground and Nico is desperately trying to stand his ground, so yeah it's exciting.

Palmer has yet to score a point this season, while Renault team-mate Magnussen has picked up six
Palmer has yet to score a point this season, while Renault team-mate Magnussen has picked up six

Q: Do you think Rosberg might get a frosty reception at the British Grand Prix?

JP: The fans will love Lewis but I don't think they'll be disrespectful to Rosberg. Lewis did nothing wrong at all and the home crowd will be supporting him like crazy for sure. I've not seen anyone get booed at Silverstone so Rosberg would have to do something pretty bad I think!

Q: What have you made of the season so far in general?

JP: It's great. When you are driving in it you can't watch it as much. I think the problems Hamilton has had has opened it up a bit because he has more collisions. That opens the door for Ferrari and Red Bull, so yeah I think it's a great season.

The performance has closed up between Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull and Red Bull should have won in Monaco on pure pace. We are fighting for what we can get and compared to the last couple of years it's an improvement on previous F1 years.

Q: Has your first season in F1 been more difficult than you expected?

JP: In some ways, yes, because I think as a team we are struggling a little bit. Also, as a rookie there are still things to learn that I wasn't expecting but I feel like nine races in, I'm really starting to get on top of it. I'm at least getting the most out of myself now.

Q: Are you excited for Silverstone?

JP: I did my first race there aged 15 I think and I love it. The home crowd is what really makes it special, I think it's one of the biggest of the year. Everyone is so passionate and even when I was in GP2 the home support was huge. Last year as a third driver I could still feel it as well but going there as a race driver will be really special.

Q: As a British driver, have you had much contact with Jenson Button or Lewis Hamilton?

JP: No, no. I speak to them pretty rarely but everyone in Formula 1 is just focused on themselves. It's very dog-eat-dog, there are 22 of us and we are all looking after number one.

There is no way I'd expect Jenson or Lewis to help me out because I'm the new kid on the block and ultimately I want to be beating them. I know if it was the other way round I don't think I'd be trying to help anyone else out who I was racing.

Q: How have you found the step-up to becoming a fully-fledged race car driver?

JP: It feels like a natural step up for me. This year it's the natural step - that's why I was the reserve driver last year, so I could be here now. Since then really I'm getting more and more out of myself. I'm nine races into my career but another 12 should help me. I've got more to learn than most.