Jolyon Palmer was a force to be reckoned with on the opening weekend of the 2010 Formula Two championship in Silverstone, taking a win and a second place to claim the initial championship lead over Phillipp Eng, the second-race winner.
"It's fantastic, all I could have hoped for really," Palmer said after his first-race victory. "I was under pressure at the start but managed to hold it off and get a small gap. Then I was just concentrating on saving my tyres for the last laps, not making any mistakes and trying to keep focused."
Jokinen sprinted easily into the lead into the first corner as the lights went out for the start of the first race, with Dean Stoneman following him in second place. Front-row starter Johan Jokinen got a poor start and ended up three cars wide in the corner with Sergey Afanasiev and Philipp Eng. There wasn't room for all of them, though, and while Afanasiev made the best of it, Jokinen ran wide at Becketts, dropping well down the field in the process. Kazim Vasiliauskas also climbed into the leading group, threatening Eng.
Meanwhile, Palmer and Stoneman were focused on their lap times, and pulled steadily away from the dogfight taking place between Afanasiev, Eng and vasiliauskas. After the battles of the first few laps, the rest of the race was largely uneventful, and the gaps stretched out late in the race. Palmer ended up taking the chequered flag by a margin of 3.011 seconds over Stoneman. Afanasiev was third, another four seconds adrift, but almost three seconds in front of Eng. Vasiliauskas, Will Bratt, Mihai Marinescu and Armaan Ebrahim claimed fifth through eighth positions, respectively.
Palmer didn't have that pole-position advantage in the second race of the day, though, with Eng starting from pole and Palmer from second, the Briton having made a mistake on his crucial fast lap.
Eng took the lead with a clean start, but Palmer was following closely, and attempted a move into Copse Corner on the first lap. Eng was having none of that, though, and successfully defended his position. Worse for Palmer, Stoneman took advantage of Palmer's missed attempt to move past him into second place. Further down the field, Afanasiev ran wide at Copse, dropping down to eighth place.
Stoneman was chasing Eng at the front, and after eight laps the gap to Eng was less than a second. However, that would be as close as he would get to his first victory, as mechanical problems struck his car, forcing him to retire on the ninth lap.
Freed from behind Stoneman, Palmer took up the chase and the gap was less than half a second with two laps to go. A small slide on the penultimate lap dropped him far enough back, though, that he had to settle for second, 0.807 behind Eng, who took his second Formula Two victory and the first of the 2010 season.
"It was a very tough race," Eng recalled. "Jolyon was pushing very hard and for me it was like qualifying every single lap, because I was always trying to get the maximum out of the car. I would have liked to get a podium in the first race. Anyway, I won this race and fourth in the first race is a good effort."
Johan Jokinen was a lonely third, 15 seconds back, but over four seconds in front of fourth-placed Jack Clarke. Bratt, Afanasiev, Vasiliauskasand Marinescu took the next four positions.
The series will return to action in the streets of Marrakech in two weeks' time.