Briton lies sixth in GP2 standings after fourth place in sprint race
Southwater’s Jolyon Palmer has retained sixth place in this year’s GP2 championship standings after a positive end to a frustrating weekend in Barcelona.
The 22 year-old, who drives for the Carlin team in the F1 support series, enjoyed a solid start to the weekend with fourth in the Friday free practice, but endured a tough qualifying session and had to settle for 11th on the grid for the feature race.
A feisty first lap, excellent pace and good pit stop strategy saw Jolyon finish in third place in the opening contest. After a rapid getaway Palmer made up four positions on the opening lap before being among the first runners to make the switch to a more durable tyre compound on lap six. Jolyon jumped several runners during the pit stop phase and was ultimately running in second place as the race moved into the final stages.
With tyres older than those on cars around him, Jolyon was passed late on by team mate Felipe Nasr, who damaged the rear of Jolyon’s car in the process. The resulting damage and deteriorating tyres forced Jolyon to mount a staunch defensive drive to keep his position in the closing stages, and he was controversially judged by the stewards to have squeezed Sam Bird off the road, resulting in a 20 second post-race second time penalty being applied. This demoted him from third to 10th in the race results.
That also meant Jolyon started Sunday’s race from a lowly 10th place on the grid, but another fantastic start saw him end the first lap in fifth place.
Settling into the race, Jolyon maintained a gap to Johnny Cecotto in front while also keeping a safe distance between himself and Kevin Ceccon behind, managing his tyres well.
Then with 11 laps remaining Jolyon picked up his pace and began closing the gap to Cecotto by a second a lap, and within three laps had closed right up under his gearbox. He made his move up the inside of turn four on lap 21, and Cecotto had no answer. Jolyon then powered away to secure fourth place and eight valuable points.
Speaking afterwards Jolyon commented: “Obviously I was really disappointed after the penalty on Saturday, so it was good to show again what we were capable of in Sunday’s race. Fourth is a good result from where we started, it’s just a pity that it wasn’t in addition to a third place on Saturday, but this is racing. We have a good car and I’m really looking forward to returning to Monaco where I won last year.”
Jolyon now lies sixth in the championship standings, and is next back in action in Monaco on 23-25 May, scene of his maiden GP2 win last year.