Palmer: Pressure immense to save Renault seat
Renault's Jolyon Palmer feels like his Formula 1 career is on the line with every passing second, amid uncertainty over his 2017 prospects.
The French manufacturer signed Nico Hulkenberg from Force India last week, its first move for the 2017 F1 season.
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It means there is just one Renault seat left, with Palmer vying with team-mate Kevin Magnussen and former reserve and current Manor driver Esteban Ocon.
"The biggest pressure is in qualifying because it's all down to one lap," Palmer told Autosport.
"If you don't put the lap together you are out in Q1, which is what happened to me in Malaysia and Kev in Japan, so there's big pressure on us.
"In the race I sort of thrive on it a little bit more because it's not down to one lap.
"It's difficult with the pressure because we've got to show what we can do, to try and show the bosses.
"You can't make any mistakes, but you can't be too safe either or you're too slow, so it's a compromise.
"Without the pressure that your career's on the line, it's probably a little bit easier.
"Without pressure everything is kind of second nature, whereas for us there's occasionally an element of tightening up.
"It would be nice to be a little bit more relaxed. There's always pressure in F1, but to know your career is on the line, it feels like every second that passes."
It may yet come down to a 50-50 chance for Palmer and Magnussen to stay, as Force India is understood to be keen on acquiring Mercedes junior Ocon to replace Hulkenberg.
The deal would be similar to that for Pascal Wehrlein and Ocon at Manor, with Force India looking to save money on its power units from supplier Mercedes.
"I think we work really well together as team-mates," Palmer said of his relationship with Magnussen.
"Both of us are pretty open. We're obviously competing against each other, but we get on well and we are working well to improve the team, and I think that shows with the results.
"It takes drivers' co-operation to take good steps forward, which I think we have done, and it may yet be both of us are kept on, but at the moment we're both out to be re-signed.
"We've got respect between us, we're in the same situation, so it's just about being humane to each other, and then when we're on track we obviously want to do the better job."