Jolyon Palmer claimed his second GP2 Series win of the season in a chaotic Feature Race at Monaco today.
In a 40- lap tussle, the Englishman won out over Mitch Evans and Felipe Nasr, with the top three covered by just 0.6s at the flag.
Poleman Palmer lost the lead to Evans when he bogged down at the start, but the 22-year-old regained both his composure and the lead, as Evans began to slow dramatically after several laps.
Palmer made the decisive move on lap eleven, when he slid down the inside of a defenceless Evans to retake the lead.
From there, the DAMS man pulled a gap of 3.6s over Evans, only for the red flag to emerge on lap 13, as a result of a pile-up at Loews hairpin.
The accident – the first of a few instigated by Arden’s Rene Binder – came to be when the Austrian attempted a gloriously unrealistic move on teammate Andre Negrao at the ultra tight bend. With a number of cars in close proximity to the Negrao / Binder fight, the field came to halt, blocking the track.
After almost forty minutes, the race restarted with Palmer setting a devastating pace at the front of the field. Within twelve laps, the Englishman had pulled out a 9.3s gap over the increasingly pressurised Evans, when the safety car made an appearance to clear away Julian Leal, who had thrown his Carlin machine into the barriers at the Nouvelle chicane.
It signaled the best opportunity for the leading group to make their mandatory pitstop, with only Stoffel Vandoorne (ART Grand Prix) and Simon Trummer (Rapax) staying out.
Palmer slotted in between the pair, but retook the front of the pack when Vandoorne stopped for tyres on lap 33. It was not the ideal time for a stop by Vandoorne; however the ART squad took the chance when Vandoorne’s ART teammate Takuya Izawa crashed, followed by a clumsy collision between Stefano Coletti and Trummer at Anthony Noghes.
Palmer led the rest of the running, but had to face down Evans who closed to within 0.4s at the flag; however there was not enough time for the Kiwi to make a move for the win.
Nasr’s climb to 3rd place was a startling one. The Brazilian started 18th on the grid, but a startling getaway took him to 12th by the end of lap one. From there, Nasr held a solid pace and pitted on lap 7 and was able to slowly climb the order after the red flag as the field one-by-one changed their tyres.
His biggest gain came on lap 27, when the safety car for Leal’s moment propelled the Brazilian from 13th to 5th in one foul swoop. That became 3rd when the overly aggressive Coletti removed both himself and Trummer from the action.
Nasr closed in on the leading pair in the final tours, but there was never going to be enough time to make more of it.
Johnny Cecotto Jr drove a mature race to 4th, while his Trident teammate Sergio Canamasas stopped one lap after Nasr and claimed positions en masse under the Leal safety car period.
Arthur Pic assumed 6th spot Rio Haryanto, Stéphane Richelmi took 8th and reverse grid pole for DAMS. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs ended his day in 9th spot, while Tio Ellinas grabbed the final point for 10th place.
It was not a good day if you were Binder though. Aside from the Loews error, the 22-year-old was caught up in two other incidents: first he pummelled into the side of Artem Markelov at the Nouvelle Chicane on lap 35 and when he had been pushed away by the marshals, the Austrian crashed into the barrier three corners later, final ending his day.
Facu Regalia retired on the opening lap with an electrical failure. His car which had stopped near Tabac brought out a safety car on lap two, signaling a brief neutralisation of the race.
2014 GP2 Series (Rd 3, Feature Race, Monaco) Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Jolyon Palmer DAMS 1h38m31.193s (40 laps) 2. Mitch Evans Russian Time +0.427s 3. Felipe Nasr Carlin +0.653s 4. Johnny Cecotto Jr Trident +2.175s 5. Sergio Canamasas Trident +2.884s 6. Arthur Pic Campos +6.187s 7. Rio Haryanto Caterham +8.718s 8. Stephane Richelmi DAMS +9.594s 9. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Rapax +9.785s 10. Tio Ellinas MP +10.187s 11. Daniel de Jong MP +10.689s 12. Raffaele Marciello Racing Engineering +11.727s 13. Conor Daly Lazarus +12.291s 14. Stoffel Vandoorne ART +12.705s 15. Kimiya Sato Campos +26.761s 16. Alexander Rossi Caterham +29.166s 17. Nathanael Berthon Lazarus +56.107s Retirements: Artem Markelov Russian Time +5 laps Rene Binder Arden +5 laps Simon Trummer Rapax +9 laps Stefano Coletti Racing Engineering +9 laps Takuya Izawa ART +9 laps Julian Leal Carlin +16 laps Andre Negrao Arden +29 laps Daniel Abt Hilmer +31 laps Facu Regalia Hilmer +40 laps