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Great Britain GP2 race report


Comma-sponsored Jolyon Palmer retained and stretched his unbroken lead at the head of the 2014 GP2 championship points table with a second place podium in Saturday's Feature race and fourth in the Sprint race on Sunday at Silverstone on the weekend of July 4/6th. Driving for the Le Mans-based DAMS team to which Comma is also Technical Partner, 23 year old Palmer from Horsham, West Sussex, now carries a 38 point margin (143 to 105) over his 2013 team-mate – Felipe Nasr of Brazil driving for Carlin – into the fulcrum round of the 11 event GP2 series at Hockenheim, West Germany on July 18/20th.


Ferrari's Academy driver Raffaele Marciello led his Race Engineering team-mate Stefano Coletti at the top of the time sheets to record the fastest lap in Friday's free practise session. Alexander Rossi of the USA claimed third spot for Caterham ahead of Palmer and Venezuela's Johnny Cecotto (Trident) and Nasr, with Palmer's team-mate Stéphane Richelmi of Monaco close behind. McLaren's Belgian development driver Stoffel Vandoorne was next up for Art Grand Prix, with Daniel de Jong of Holland (MP Motorsport) and Mitch Evans of New Zealand (RT Russian Time) completing the top ten.


In gusting, windy conditions, Marciello hit the 'sweet spot' early in the official Qualifying session to edge Palmer and nail pole position for the Feature race with a lap in 1min 40.445 seconds. Evans and Julian Leal (Carlin) annexed the second row, with less than 0.04secs bracketing the top four drivers. Vandoorne and Nasr filled Row 3, with Marco Sørensen of Denmark making an impressive GP2 debut for MP Motorsport alongside Richelmi on the forth row. Cecotto and Daniel Abt of Gemany (Hilmer Motorsport) rounded out the top ten potential points scoring positions.

Feature Race

In damp conditions, and with the grid split 50/50 between starting on the 'option' or 'prime' rubber, tyre and mandatory pit-stop strategies were destined to play their usual decisive role in determining the course and outcome of the race. Marciello on the softer primes launched from pole into an immediate lead, with Evans displacing Palmer – both on the option tyre – briefly on the opening lap before Comma's man fought back to restore the starting order. Behind them, a hard-charging Nasr grabbed fouth place from Vandoorne, with Coletti and Cecotto following. Ten laps into the 29 lap contest, and the leader headed for the pits, resuming on the option tyres and still in time-control of the race as his pursuers played a longer game. But it was not to last, as the Italian ground to a halt with mechanical problems four laps later. Palmer's pit stop came deep into the race on lap 19, with Evans completing a storming in-lap and rapid pit stop one lap later to emerge just in the lead and set up a stirring two car battle well clear of the pursuing pack. Evans eventually got the upper hand, and eased away for his maiden Feature race victory by just under 5 seconds ahead of Palmer. Vandoorne - over 20 seconds adrift - held of Leal to claim the third podium spot, with Coletti a further six seconds back in fifth place just heading Cecotto, Nasr and Richelmi in sixth, seventh and eighth positions. The impressive rookie Sorensen was close in Richelmi's wake to claim his first GP2 points in ninth place, some 5 seconds ahead of Abt in tenth spot.

Sprint Race

Starting from second place on the starting grid (the top eight finishers in the Feature race start the Sprint contest in reverse order) Felipe Nasr took an immediate lead to claim an unchallenged victory for his Carlin team by just over 4 seconds from Stefano Coletti, with Johnny Cecotto a further 1.5 seconds behind in third place. With his customary flourish of eye-catching overtaking manoeuvres, Comma-sponsored Jolyon Palmer fought through from seventh on the grid to narrowly miss out on a second podium position of the weekend in fourth place, comfortably ahead of Julian Leal fifth, DAMS team-mate Stéphane Richelmi in sixth and Feature race winner Mitch Evans in seventh. Danish newcomer Marco Sørensen impressed once again with the final points-scoring position in eighth place.
With Jolyon Palmer and DAMS retaining their points-leading positions in both the GP2 Drivers' and Teams' championship tables, Silverstone was another fulfilling occasion for Comma. "Overall, we're very pleased with the weekend. Next stop – Germany," said Jolyon.
We say "bring it on!"

You can follow Jolyon's race by race progress here throughout the season, and get complete race reports and results on the official GP2 Series website

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