For DAMS, it was a weekend that had the potential to be damaging to theirs and Jolyon Palmer’s title ambitions, but in the end the Briton extended his championship lead over his closest rivals after two very different, but equally impressive drives at Monza. For Stephane Richelmi too, it was a return to form with the Monegasque driver claiming two top four finishes.
After originally qualifying fourth in qualifying, Palmer was relegated to the back of the grid after the team failed to put a sufficient amount of fuel in his car for scrutineering, but the Briton put in an excellent performance in the Feature race to finish eighth, and thus taking reverse grid pole for the Sprint race that he converted into his third win of the season.
“I’m feeling both very happy and proud after my third win of the season,” insisted Palmer. “Especially as I came from a long way back. We reacted as a team after our hiccup on Friday and finishing eighth on Saturday was already like a victory for us. When we found out we’d be starting from the back, we put our heads down and did a really good strategy and race. We knew we had to get into the top eight in yesterday’s Feature Race, and we managed that.
“It was also time to score a win to send a message to our rivals. There are still two rounds to go with a bunch of points up for grabs, but we’re not letting up!”
Team-mate Richelmi was delighted to finally return to the points and to the podium at Monza. He scored his first points since Germany in the Feature race, and then his first podium since his Monaco win in the Sprint race.
“At last,” exclaimed Richelmi. “After going through a pretty black period my top-three finish rewards the work done by the team and I’d like to thank them very much. I could even have done a tad better. A place on the first or second row was possible in qualifying and on Sunday I fluffed my restart after the safety car, and that gave Coletti the opportunity to pass me. But I’m delighted to score these points and they’ve given me a great boost in view of the last two rounds.”
Managing Director Francois Sicard praised the way the team reacted to Palmer’s penalty, and was happy to see both drivers secure excellent results around the Italian track.
“I’d like to congratulate the whole team for its exceptional reaction after our error in qualifying,” said Sicard. “We were caught out by higher fuel consumption than we expected. But we did a great job turning the situation round thanks to a risky strategy that paid off on Saturday.
“Jolyon was incredible! His speed was mind-boggling as was his mastery of the situation. A big bravo to Stéphane, who was finally able to concretise his level of performance.”