Jolyon Palmer wins GP2 Sprint Race in Bahrain to take Drivers' Championship lead
Simon Trummer and Julian Leal complete podium
By William Esler
Last Updated: 06/04/14 7:10pm
The DAMS driver had become bogged down from pole position in Saturday's Feature Race, but made no mistake on Sunday morning as he leapt from sixth on the grid to second on the opening lap before passing Simon Trummer for the lead at turn one on lap two and it was a lead he would never relinquish.
"Yesterday was first to sixth in one lap and now it is sixth to first so it definitely made up for it and I am absolutely delighted," Palmer said on the podium. "We had done a lot of homework on the start and the tyre degradation and I think we nailed them both.
"The car feels really good, in qualifying the pace was there, we were surprised yesterday that we didn't have the race pace, but I think today we showed we have found a big step and hopefully now it is strong for the European season."
Julian Leal was another to make a good start as he followed Palmer through at the start to go from seventh to third to take his second podium finish in as many days.
Pole-sitter Felipe Nasr would eventually finish fourth after a nightmare start. The Williams F1 reserve driver fell back into the pack and had to brave it around the outside of the first corner to recover to fifth. The Brazilian then made a move on Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, who was struggling with tyre-wear, late in the race at the final corner, but the Briton fought back into turn one to hold onto fourth spot, before the Carlin man got back into tow of the Rapax car and made the move stick into turn four. The battle was a fantastic example of clean and fair wheel-to-wheel racing.
The fight for the final points was equalling thrilling as Mitch Evans, Rene Binder and Arthur Pic found themselves three wide on occasion in the final five laps with the Frenchman the one of the trio to miss out on a top eight spot.
A race winner on his debut, Stoffel Vandoorne dropped from eighth to eleventh at the start and when he made a late move on Daniel de Jong at Turn Four found himself in an ever closing gap. The resulting contact damaged the front wing on his ART and after a pit-stop on lap two he eventually finished 22nd.
At the front Trummer and Leal were both urged to pressure Palmer in the closing stages after the DAMS man had struggled with tyre-wear in the Feature Race, but the 23-year-old always had enough in hand to win by eight tenths of a second.
The next rounds of the 2014 GP2 Championship take place in Spain on May 9-11 and Palmer's regular Sky Sports column will be available to read later this week.
GP2 Sprint Race - Bahrain
1) Jolyon Palmer (GBR) - DAMS - 41:02.484
2) Simon Trummer (SUI) - Rapax - +0.809
) Julian Leal (COL) - Carlin - +1.430
4) Felipe Nasr (BRA) - Carlin - +8.719
5) Stephane Richelmi (MON) - DAMS - +16.416
6) Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (GBR) - Rapax - +17.680
7) Mitch Evans (NZL) - Russian Time - +18.012
8) Rene Binder (AUT) - Arden International - +19.791
9) Arthur Pic (FRA) - Campos Racing - +19.977
10) Artem Markelov (RUS) - Russian Time - +20.678
13) Daniel Abt (GER) - Hilmer Motorsport - +29.171
15) Jon Lancaster (GBR) - MP Motorsport - +34.017
22) Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) - ART Grand Prix - +49.324
24) Raffaele Marciello (ITA) - Racing Engineering - +1 Lap
1) Jolyon Palmer - 38
2) Julian Leal - 28
3) Stoffel Vandoorne - 25
4) Simon Trummer - 18
5) Felipe Nasr - 12