An encouraging eighth-place qualifying performance by Arden’s Jolyon Palmer saw him challenge for points in the feature race at Imola, until disaster struck in his pitstop.
After qualifying Palmer, runner-up in last year’s Formula Two campaign, said: “My first run was spoiled because the red flag came out before I’d set a time but after the tyres were past their best.
“In the end everything came down to a single run and fortunately it was a pretty decent lap – there was some traffic, but it cost me only a couple of tenths so I can’t really complain.”
He gained places at the start of the race and was soon hassling ART’s Jules Bianchi for fifth. An early pitstop was supposed to gain the advantage of a clear track afterwards, but instead a problem selecting first gear cost him 20 seconds.
He said: “In a flash I had slipped from fifth to last – and we all know Imola is not a circuit that favours overtaking. There wasn’t much I could do really, so I just drove patiently and took any opportunities that came my way, but there weren’t many.”
Worse was to come in the sprint race, where he recorded a retirement for the first time this season. A good start from 18th gained him some places, but the advantage was short-lived as he immediately lost power with an apparent alternator problem and retired before the first lap was over.
Photos by Drew Gibson and Malcolm Griffiths, GP2 Media Service.