Jolyon Palmer was delighted to have won the first sprint race of the season at the Bahrain International Circuit. The British DAMS driver learned his lesson about tyre management from the feature race and put his knowledge to good use in the sprint to hold off Rapax driver Simon Trummer and Carlin’s Julian Leal throughout the race.
“I was driving a lot more conservative with the knowledge of what happened yesterday,” admitted Palmer. “And you never know when you’re in the lead. You know how you’re feeling on the tyres but you don’t know if the guys behind are saving a lot or if they’re struggling. I was always keeping quite a lot in and driving a bit differently. We worked on the balance and the set-up, which I think, is positive now and hopefully will help for the rest of the season.
“Obviously, the start was pretty good. That made up for yesterday’s bad start so I’m happy for that. And then I knew I had to pass Trummer straight away because he looked really strong on the tyres. Once I passed him, I was just controlling the race.
“Trummer and Leal were the quickest yesterday on the long runs so, it was difficult to manage with those guys behind and be under pressure. I just survived and maintained the gap. I’m really happy to win.”
Looking back at the weekend where Palmer grabbed pole position on Friday for Saturday’s feature race, a podium and fastest lap bonus point in that race, plus the feature race win on Sunday, the Brit admitted it as a good start to the season.
“I could not have hoped for more. I certainly expected to be fighting at the front this weekend and we’ve been always at the front fighting for the win for most of the race yesterday and winning today. Everything has been perfect really. DAMS have done a really good job. I’m happy for them and looking forward to Barcelona.
“There will be new challenges in Barcelona I think. Normally we do some testing there before the start of the season, but we didn’t this year. There’ll be some things that we’re going to learn in the free practice so we will probably use more of the 45 minutes than we did here. But I just want to focus on staying at the front in qualifying in order to make the whole weekend a lot easier.”