Briton Jolyon Palmer heads into the unique settings of the Monaco weekend as Championship leader after four consecutive podium finishes in the opening four races of the 2014 GP2 Series season, including a race win in the Bahrain Sprint race.
The DAMS driver began the season with a pole position for the feature race in Bahrain before finishing third after a sluggish start, but turned his sixth place start in race two into a win. In Spain last time out, he started on the front row for the feature race, but finished second to Johnny Cecotto Jr who was on a different tyre strategy. Starting seventh for the Sunday sprint race, he kept his podium run going by once again climbing to second.
“It’s been a great start to the season for us and I hope to keep that up at Monaco,” admitted Palmer, who leads the championship by 22 points from Carlin driver Julian Leal.
Monaco was the setting of Palmer’s first win in GP2 back in 2012 when racing for iSport International. After qualifying sixth on the tight and twisty Armco-lined track, he finished in the same position, which gave him third on the grid for the sprint race that followed. With both drivers who started ahead of him retiring, including his current DAMS team mate Stephane Richelmi, Palmer held off the advances of Carlin’s Max Chilton for his maiden win.
He admits he enjoys driving around the circuit, but knows a good qualifying session is essential for him to have a good weekend. After one pole position and a second place in qualifying so far in 2014, his confidence should be high.
“I can’t wait for Monaco, it’s the standout venue on the calendar and the most enjoyable track to drive,” said Palmer. “I’ve been quick there in the past and won my first GP2 race there in 2012. Qualifying will be crucial as overtaking is extremely difficult.”