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Hungary GP2 race report


Race by race, Jolyon Palmer is consolidating his lead in the 2014 GP2 championship. On the weekend of July 26/27th, the Comma-sponsored driver returned to the scene of his memorable 2013 Feature race victory at the Hungaroring, and while on this occasion the win eluded him, fourth place in Saturday's Feature race and a second place podium in Sunday's Sprint race netted him sufficient points to edge a little further ahead of his closest rival, Brazil's Felipe Nasr (Carlin) in the championship points table. As the summer break now kicks in before the next GP2 event at Spa, Belgium, on August 22/24th, Palmer's eighth podium of the season leaves him leading his erstwhile 2013 team-mate by 43 points - 192 to 149. Simultaneously, he has reinforced the DAMS team - to which Comma is also Technical Partner – in control of the GP2 teams championship.

Practice & Qualifying

Venezuela's Johnny Cecotto (Trident) incurred Palmer's wrath and copped a three place grid penalty for the Feature race when he slammed into the Comma driver's car in free practice. The resultant damage - and the time it took to repair it - effectively snuffed out Palmer's session, but not before he had posted fourth fastest time behind ART GP's McLaren FI test driver Stoffel Vandoorne from Belgium, Williams F1 test driver Nasr and his own DAMS team-mate, Stéphane Richelmi of Monaco.
Things didn't really improve for Palmer when it came to qualifying for the Feature race. Dirt thrown onto the track when another driver had an 'off-piste' moment forced him to back out of a really quick lap and he ended up sixth, 0.355 seconds shy of Nasr who grabbed pole ahead of Frenchman Tom Dillman (Caterham) and the two Campos team drivers, Arthur Pic of France and Japan's Kimiya Sato. With Cecotto having to swallow his penalty, Vandoorne joined Palmer on Row 3, with Italy's Rafaelle Marciello (Racing Engineering) and Cecotto making up the fourth row. Danish GP2 rookie Marco Sørensen (MP Motorsport) once again showed his promise in ninth place alongside Richelmi who completed the top ten. Less than nine tenths of a second covered the top 21 qualifiers!

Feature race

Palmer made a lighting start to displace the Campos drivers and quickly pass Dillman to set off in pursuit of Nasr, before a clash between Sato and Richelmi brought out the safety car. In what was to prove a decisive phase of the race, this was a signal for drivers – several of them from lower down the grid - who had started on soft rubber to chance their arm on an early mandatory pit stop and change onto 'prime' tyres. When the racing resumed, Nasr and Palmer were still jousting for the lead, some way up the road from Dillman with Pic - an early stopper - strategically placed to move ahead when the leaders pitted. A further safety car period as the pit stops all played out left Palmer and Nasr still scrapping - but this time for twelfth position - while Pic assumed the lead ahead of Rio Haryanto (Caterham) and Stefano Coletti (Racing Engineering) who had vaulted through the pack having started twentieth and fifteenth respectively. With the pack now completely jumbled up relative to the starting grid, Palmer set about a late-race charge that eventually rewarded him with fourth place behind the winner Pic, runner-up Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (Rapax) and Takuya Izawa (ART GP) who had started 22nd and dead last respectively! Germany's Daniel Abt (Hilmer) who had started 14th on the grid edged Nasr for fifth, while Vandoorne could only make seventh out of his pole position start ahead of France's Nathanael Berthon (Lazarus) who had started 18th. Dillman in ninth and Sorensen, tenth, filled the remaining points scoring places, with Silverstone winner Mitch Evans (Russian Time) in twelfth place collecting the bonus points for fastest lap. Race Engineering's two drivers – Coletti and Marciello – both received time penalties for different offences, dumping them to the tail end of the order in 18th and 19th positions.

Sprint race

Stoffel Vandoorne made no mistake in Sunday's 28 lap Sprint event, this time converting another front row starting position into a lights-to-flag victory, with faster lap on his final tour as a bonus. There was another early-race, no-holds-barred scrap between Palmer and Nasr, with Comma's man getting the best and going on to finish on fast-fading tyres just over three seconds behind the winner, with his main GP2 title adversary third. Much further down the road, pole man Berthon and Abt were separated by only half a second for fourth and fifth places, while Pic came home sixth ahead of America's Conor Daly (Lazarus) and Quaife-Hobbs, who claimed the remaining points for seventh and eighth.

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

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