Palou, who will remain with Chip Ganassi Racing in IndyCar next year after a prolonged contractual tug of warfare over his companies with Arrow McLaren SP, made his official F1 bow on the Circuit of the Americas in FP1 for the US Grand Prix.
Changing Daniel Ricciardo for the hour-long session, 2021 IndyCar title-winner Palou turned in a greatest effort of 1m39.911s which left him 17th quickest.
Though he was two seconds slower than team-mate Lando Norris’s greatest effort, Palou carried out solely lengthy runs on Pirelli’s medium compound and by no means received to check out the softs.
Nonetheless, the 25-year-old Spaniard was shocked by the capabilities of a recent F1 automotive, having beforehand logged miles within the workforce’s 2021 machine on the Purple Bull Ring.
“It is quick, it is insane!” he enthused afterwards.
“Clearly, I used to be fortunate to check earlier than the 2021 automotive, in order that already gave me the sensation of an F1 automotive.
“However then right here, clearly, you could have the site visitors, you do not need to impede anyone else. And you’ve got a automotive that isn’t yours.
“I used to be making an attempt to maintain the automotive, clearly not making an attempt to get in hassle with individuals which might be going to race this weekend.
“This observe, I believe it is fairly superior for an F1 automotive, particularly sector one tremendous quick. And it was stunning to drive.”
Alex Palou, McLaren
Picture by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images
Palou admitted that “the automotive was able to a lot that I simply overshot it in some locations, which I believe is sweet”.
“It is higher to overshoot, after which again it off for those who solely have an hour,” he defined.
“And I knew we solely had a set of tyres, so I needed to do the whole lot in two laps. I could not wait quite a bit, in order that’s most likely why.
“What would I enhance? I believe simply extra laps and getting clearly one other set of tyres on the finish would have helped.
“However our programme at the moment was to not go quick, it was to get knowledge for the workforce originally, which we did… After which we targeted on myself.”
Palou examined with Dale Coyne Racing at COTA in 2020 earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic that prompted the cancellation of IndyCar’s deliberate second race there.
He defined that the McLaren was “extra delicate to the wind than an IndyCar” on the observe, describing it as “near what we really feel on ovals”.
“Somewhat little bit of wind damages the automotive stability quite a bit,” he mentioned. “And it was tough in Sector 1 at the moment, which did not assist me clearly on my first day and I did not need to crash on my solely free observe! In an IndyCar clearly you’ll go quite a bit slower by there.
“I trusted the automotive 100 p.c however the automotive was able to doing greater than I believed it was… so I began pushing extra.
Alex Palou, McLaren MCL36
Picture by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
“It is true that on the gradual corners I used to be fairly robust however I believe it is simple, clearly, to get extra confidence there.
“The final two corners I lacked a bit of bit, particularly the second to final one. However the automotive may do much more than I believed.
“It was not confidence, it was that I could not consider how briskly I may go together with the automotive.”
Palou’s IndyCar rival Patricio O’Ward will get a run in Lando Norris’s car in observe for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.