Jolyon Palmer press release
Jolyon Palmer denied likely points finish at GP2 season finale
Southwater racer endures frustrating weekend in Monza but hopes to return stronger next year
Jolyon Palmer endured a frustrating final GP2 meeting of the season in Monza last weekend after being denied an almost certain maiden points finish following his best ever qualifying performance.
The 20-year-old, racing in his debut season of the F1 feeder series, arrived at the 5.793km Italian track full of confidence, especially having won twice there in 2010 on his way to becoming the FIA Formula Two Championship runner-up.
Jolyon, from Southwater, began the weekend promisingly, going 12th fastest of 26 drivers in the opening practice session on Friday before qualifying P11 for Saturday’s 30-lap Feature Race – marking a career best.
Overcoming scorching track temperatures, Jolyon made a solid start and demonstrated strong pace but soon had his race cruelly cut short when he became the innocent victim in an on track collision caused by Scuderia driver Michael Herck.
“I have no doubt a points finish was lost,” said a frustrated Jolyon after the race. “Herck broke stupidly late going into the first corner and smashed into a few cars. I made the corner but then had nowhere to go at Turn 2 as Josef Kral was broadside across the track and rolled backwards.”
Having to start from the back for Sunday’s Sprint Race proved tough for Jolyon but the Arden International driver battled hard, gaining an impressive seven places during the closely fought final race to finish 19th. "I made up a few places on the first couple of laps, then had an off through the gravel at Lesmo 2 whilst trying to keep Davide Valsecchi behind me. From then on it was a long race just trying to catch the group in front."
This weekend marked the final meeting of the 2011 GP2 Series with Jolyon ending the year as one of the leading rookie drivers and with a string of top 10 finishes to his name. He now hopes to return stronger to the highly competitive championship next season.