DAMS Racing’s Jolyon Palmer drove a perfect race to seal the 2014 GP2 Championship in the inaugural Russian Grand Prix.
He is the only other British driver to win the Championship aside from Lewis Hamilton in the series’ second year in 2006.
Palmer’s main rival Felipe Nasr had a wretched race finishing in 18th position. After starting in 12th position, Nasr was edged off the track at Turn two and continued back on to the track gaining position.
The Stewards found the move in breach of track limits and he was hit with a drive through penalty. The day only got worse from there, as he was told by his team to take the penalty during a safety car period. Since a driver must serve their penalty during green flag conditions, Nasr was forced to take a second drive through penalty.
ART’s Stoffel Vandoorne now lies 10 points behind Nasr in the Championship standings after finishing the Feature Race in fifth position with a fastest lap.
Vandoorne started the race on pole position and was out to a 2.2 second lead until Stefano Coletti broke down on track bringing out the safety car on lap seven.
A miscommunication between the pit wall and Vandoorne saw the Belgian miss the opportunity to pit under the safety car, throwing away a likely victory.
All that was left was to try and build a gap to Palmer – who was the first of the leaders to pit – and pit towards the end of the race. Once the safety car returned to the pits he did just that, posting multiple consecutive fastest laps and extended the lead over Palmer to 10 seconds before pitting. He re-joined with five laps left to run in 10th position, making up five positions to finish fifth.
Once Vandoorne had pitted, Palmer inherited the race lead with Mitch Evans hot on his tail. The pair had been battling since the safety car and at different times both acquiring the services of team-mates to assist their battle.
It was clear that Mitch Evans was quicker during the early stages of their battle. However, once Palmer had clean air in front of him he was able to defend Evans’ attempts to pass, countering the Russian Time driver by posting a fastest lap of his own.
Raffaele Marciello finished third for Racing Engineering, two seconds ahead of Campos driver Arthur Pic.
Images via GP2 Media