Jolyon Palmer continues to lead the GP2 Series championship after claiming a podium finish and a sixth place at Hockenheim and a pole position. His DAMS team-mate Stephane Richelmi was less fortunate in Germany, as a mistake in qualifying consigned him to a midfield battle to tenth in the Feature race, while he was unlucky to be taken out in the Sprint race.
Palmer started on pole position for GP2’s 200th race, but was unable to convert that starting position into a Feature race win, slipping down to third at the flag behind race winner Mitch Evans of Russian Time and Stoffel Vandoorne of ART Grand Prix. He started the Sunday Sprint race on wet tyres, but was overhauled by a few runners starting on dries to finish sixth. The Briton bemoaned a poor start that cost him valuable time and position on Saturday, primarily to Vandoorne.
“For sure the starts aren’t our strong point,” said Palmer. “It’s very frustrating. We could have won on Saturday; there was very little in it. Evans has come from nowhere twice. We thought that his tyres would go off at the end of the race, but it didn’t happen.
“On Sunday I wasn’t in a position to take risks. So overall it’s been a good weekend for the championship, and I hope that we will be on the topmost step of the podium in a week’s time.”
Richelmi was disappointed with his qualifying effort that saw him start the Feature race lower down the grid than he wanted to be, and struggled to tenth on Saturday. On Sunday he was the unfortunate victim of somebody else’s crash that ultimately saw his car catch alight and force the Monaco driver to retire before turn two on lap one.
“Today’s results aren’t great,” admitted Richelmi. “My race on Saturday was sunk by my little mistake in qualifying; I could certainly have started from the third row. On Sunday I was caught up in crash; I couldn’t do anything about it.
“Despite everything I see that my level of performance is close to that of my team-mate, and I’m going to do my utmost to score a big haul of points next weekend”
Managing Director Francois Sicard was relatively happy with how the weekend unfolded for Palmer, and was happy that the pace showed by Richelmi was much closer to that of his team-mate even though the results did not go the Monegasque drivers way.
“We’re pretty pleased with this weekend and once again we were very quick,” said Sicard. “In six meetings this year Jolyon has never been lower than second in qualifying. Stéphane is much more competitive than his results in Germany indicate.
“This being said we have to improve our starts and our performance in the sprint races. We now have to make a big push for the final race before the summer break to give us a comfortable cushion.”