West Sussex racer completes outstanding Silverstone weekend to end as top Brit
West Sussex racer Jolyon Palmer enjoyed a brilliant weekend at his home GP2 event at Silverstone, securing an excellent podium finish in the Feature Race and a fifth place in the Sprint Race.
Adding to his sensational maiden win at the iconic Monaco circuit last month, the 21-year-old from Southwater also finished as the best of three British drivers competing in the F1 feeder-series, which was racing alongside the Formula 1 British Grand Prix.
Jolyon’s weekend began in dramatic fashion on the Friday, with traffic chaos at the Northamptonshire track forcing him to abandon his road car and run the last two miles to the circuit in order to make it in time for the opening practice session! However, severe rain meant that barely any running time was possible throughout the 30-minute session. “That was a very meaningless session,” said Jolyon, who drives for the British team iSport International. “I got one flying lap in but even that was more a matter of just staying on the track! The visibility was the worst I've ever experienced.”
The downpours continued into the all-important qualifying session later that afternoon, which saw Jolyon master the tricky wet conditions in his 612bhp single-seater to finish third – his best-ever qualifying result in GP2.
Saturday’s Feature Race began behind the safety car as yet more rain left the circuit extremely treacherous with poor visibility. Once the race got underway, Jolyon drove superbly to hold onto his P3 grid slot early on, and timed his pit stop perfectly to avoid a safety car period to recover the stricken car of countryman James Calado. Jolyon held on to his third spot under pressure from team Ocean’s Nigel Melker to claim his second podium of the season and his first in a GP2 Feature Race.
“It was a tricky race because of the difficult conditions,” said Jolyon afterwards. “In the end as it started to dry out we were struggling because the car was set up a bit more towards the wet conditions, so in the end I was happy to see the chequered flag and take a home podium.”
The championship’s reverse-grid system saw Jolyon start sixth for Sunday’s 21-lap Sprint Race on a damp but drying track. After getting bogged down off the start line, Jolyon dropped as low as 17th before recovering to 13th position at the end of the opening lap. For the reminder of the race, Jolyon showed excellent pace and overtaking prowess to scythe through the field – overtaking 12 cars, including two in two corners – to finish an impressive fifth at the line.
Speaking afterwards Jolyon said: “I had a very poor start and dropped back to P17 and then managed to make my way back through the field to finish fifth. It turned out to be a really enjoyable race, although I am sure with a better start we could have fought for the win as our pace was very good. Overall it’s been a great weekend - thanks to the team and the British fans for their determined support despite the conditions. I hope to carry this momentum through to Germany and move up further in the championship.”
Jolyon’s strong Silverstone points haul sees him move up to tenth in the drivers’ standings ahead of the next GP2 rounds at Hockenheim on 20-22 July.
Source: Jolyon Palmer Press