Jolyon Palmer became the 2014 GP2 Series champion in tremendous style by winning the Feature race at Sochi, and thus became the tenth champion in the series’ history.
The DAMS driver withstood the challenge of Mitch Evans to take the title after his main rival Felipe Nasr had a nightmare and finished outside the points after a drive through penalty for exceeding track limits and apparently gaining an advantage, although all replays seemed that the penalty was harsh.
Brazilian Nasr initially took the drive through behind the safety car, but was forced to take it again when back under green flag conditions as per the rules of the series, and eventually finished down in a lowly seventeenth.
Evans was never more than two seconds behind Palmer throughout the closing stages, closing up when the two came up behind their respective team-mates Artem Markelov and Stephane Richelmi who had yet to pit, but the Russian Time driver was unable to make a serious move for the win before the chequered flag.
Raffaele Marciello completed the podium for Racing Engineering, but the Italian was over fifteen seconds adrift of the front two, while Arthur Pic was just off the podium in fourth for Campos Racing.
Stoffel Vandoorne had the pace to win in Russia but he and his team were caught out by the timing of the safety car brought out by Stefano Coletti stopping on track on lap eight. Vandoorne had kept the lead at the start despite a strong start from his ART Grand Prix team-mate Takuya Izawa.
Vandoorne was called into the pits too late, and was forced to try and get as far into the race on the softer of the two compounds of tyre, and set numerous fastest laps as he tried to make a gap to take the best result possible, and in the end he was able to finish fifth, and took fastest lap in the process.
Andre Negrao continued his impressive late season form to finish sixth for Arden International, ahead of Sergio Canamasas who scored his first points for Trident Racing since his Monaco Sprint race podium in May.
Eighth place and Sprint race pole went to Julian Leal of Carlin, who just held off the challenge of Marco Sorensen of MP Motorsport for the position. Nathanael Berthon scored the final point on offer for Venezuela GP Lazarus in tenth, just ahead of Pierre Gasly of Caterham Racing.
But the day and the season belonged to Jolyon Palmer, and he will go into tomorrow’s Sprint race with the pressure off and the championship won.
Sochi Feature Race Result
|2||Mitch Evans||NZL||RT Russian Time||+1.267s|
|3||Raffaele Marciello||ITA||Racing Engineering||+15.584s|
|4||Arthur Pic||FRA||Campos Racing||+17.550s|
|5||Stoffel Vandoorne||BEL||ART Grand Prix||+18.104s|
|6||Andre Negrao||BRZ||Arden International||+23.154s|
|7||Sergio Canamasas||ESP||Trident Racing||+28.231s|
|9||Marco Sorensen||DEN||MP Motorsport||+29.493s|
|10||Nathanael Berthon||FRA||Venezuela GP Lazarus||+31.332s|
|11||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Caterham Racing||+31.649s|
|12||Jon Lancaster||GBR||Hilmer Motorsport||+32.080s|
|13||Kimiya Sato||JAP||Campos Racing||+32.740s|
|14||Daniel de Jong||NED||MP Motorsport||+35.710s|
|16||Artem Markelov||RUS||RT Russian Time||+37.391s|
|18||Rio Haryanto||INO||Caterham Racing||+45.167s|
|19||Johnny Cecotto Jr||VEN||Trident Racing||+45.575s|
|20||Takuya Izawa||JAP||ART Grand Prix||+52.339s|
|23||Rene Binder||AUT||Arden International||+1m03.449s|
|RET||Daniel Abt||GER||Hilmer Motorsport||21 Laps|
|RET||Stefano Coletti||MON||Racing Engineering||7 Laps|
|DNS||Sergio Campana||ITA||Venezuela GP Lazarus||0 Laps|