Jolyon Palmer’s victory in the Feature race at Sochi coupled with the failure of Felipe Nasr to score points meant that the Briton became the GP2 Series’ tenth champion on Saturday.
Palmer qualified fourth but was able to take the victory after long-time race leader Stoffel Vandoorne was caught out by the introduction of the safety car, and with it the title, something the Briton much deserves after a very strong and consistent season with DAMS.
“This feels amazing,” said Palmer on Saturday after his title clinching victory. “It wasn’t going to be easy to win the championship this weekend, especially today after missing out on pole yesterday. I can’t thank the team enough, they’ve done an incredible job all year, we’ve been fighting for pretty much every Feature Race win and every pole with almost no mistakes. It feels amazing to be champion!
“I want to thank the whole DAMS team who’ve done an incredible job. The mechanics and engineers have all be remarkable. All year we’ve been in contention for pole and victory in the main races. It’s been a dream season and the fact of winning the title on my first match point is the cherry on the cake! I really adore this team and I’ll do everything to see that they’re rewarded by a title as well
“The pressure is off us now and we’ve got another round at Abu Dhabi. We can go out now, enjoy it and have some fun!
“Looking through the list of previous GP2 Champions, they’re all unbelievable drivers, and to be on that list is something which can’t be taken away from me, it’s an incredible feeling.”
Palmer becomes the third DAMS driver in four years to take the GP2 Series title, after Romain Grosjean in 2011 and Davide Valsecchi in 2012, and Team Owner Jean-Paul Driot congratulated the whole team for taking Palmer to the title.
First of all I can’t celebrate this title without a thought for Jules Bianchi and his family,” said Driot. “Then I would like to offer my heartiest congratulations to the whole DAMS team for their exemplary championship. Three drivers’ titles in four seasons shows just how good they are!
“They were able to count on a great driver who combined speed, experience, mastery and race intelligence. A big bravo to Jolyon, who drove a stunning championship and deserves his chance in F1. Now we just have to finish with a flourish with the teams’ title and we’re also relying on Stéphane [Richelmi], who, we hope will be back in Monza mode to help us achieve this.”
Palmer believes he will move up to Formula 1 in 2015, and feels ready after four years in the GP2 Series.
“The first priority was to win GP2 and I was always confident that if I did win GP2 I was going to be in Formula 1,” said Palmer. “Now that’s done and I am confident. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but this title is a big help.
“We’re going to have to wait for a few weeks and see what happens. I feel absolutely ready for it and I’m confident it can happen.”