Jolyon Palmer was close to scoring his maiden points finish in the GP2 Series during his first visit to the Valencia Street Circuit.
The 20-year-old Briton from West Sussex produced a fine performance in the feature race on Saturday to move through the field from 17th on the grid to finish in ninth place, just one place outside of the points. The result equalled the GP2 rookie's best result in the category.
Pitting later than most of his rivals, the Arden Motorsport driver ran as high as fourth place until eventually stopping for tyres. On fresher rubber than those ahead of him, he was able to take several positions over a number of laps, getting up to ninth before the checkered flag.
He started the Sunday morning sprint race from ninth place but was unable to record another top ten finish when he was forced to take evasive action on the opening lap, causing damage to his front wing and forcing him to pit for repairs. A gearbox problem later in the race caused him to retire, bringing a disappointing close to a promising weekend.
“It was a good race on Saturday,” he said. “I had a great start and moved up to 11th by the end of the first lap. I suffered a lot of tyre degradation in the first stint and lost time to those around me. After the pit stop I came out a few places further down but I managed to push very hard and made some good passes to finish ninth, just outside the points.
“During Sunday's race I got involved in a tangle with Romain Grosjean into turn four which damaged the front wing so I had to pit for repairs. After this I caught the back of the pack up and was setting some decent times but then I had a gearbox problem forcing me to retire. A disappointing end to a decent weekend. The next round is Silverstone though which is a track I know well so I hope to be back at the sharp end.”