Jolyon Palmer drove superbly at last weekend’s GP2 round at Monza, Italy, but misfortune prevented him from adding to his GP2 points tally at the legendary circuit.

Jolyon Palmer
Jolyon Palmer

Photo by: GP2 Media Service

The 22-year-old Carlin driver from Southwater showed his intentions for a competitive weekend in the F1-support series by setting the fastest lap time in practice on Friday. In buoyant mood, he then equalled his best ever qualifying performance by setting the third fastest time, putting him on the second row of the starting grid and poised for big points during the feature race.

Running inside the top four during Saturday’s Feature Race, Jolyon looked set for another podium finish at Monza, a circuit he historically goes very well at. But a delay from his pit crew when fitting a new rear tyre during his compulsory pit stop was the first sign of trouble, and half a lap after exiting the pits, the wheel fell off his car, forcing Jolyon to retire from a very competitive position.

“I was very disappointed with that” Jolyon commented. “I was looking strong and should have been on the podium, but unfortunately the left rear tyre fell off after my pit stop. It’s a real disappointment and more bad luck, but these things do happen from time to time.”

The knock on effect from the retirement was that Jolyon would now have to start Sunday’s sprint race from towards the back of the grid, with the starting order for the second race determined by finishing positions from the opening contest.

But Jolyon played a starring role, surging from 22nd on the grid to 10th place, with the drive including one of the best overtaking manoeuvres seen so far this season.

On lap five he passed four cars, dispatching Stefano Coletti and Jon Lancaster, before an exceptional four wide move into the daunting Parabolica corner saw him gain two further positions from team mate Felipe Nasr and Sergio Canamasas.

“I had a good race, coming through from 22nd to finish 10th” said Jolyon afterwards. “Unfortunately after race one we were forced to use worn option tyres from qualifying as the wheel that fell off in race one was too badly damaged. I think we did about as much as possible and were strong all weekend but in the end it’s just one moment that’s cost us. Now we need to focus on Singapore where both Carlin and myself were quick last year.”

Jolyon Palmer