Jolyon is brilliant in Bahrain to lead the early GP2 standings

Jolyon Palmer from Southwater celebrates his Sprint Race win in Bahrain. Pictures by Sam Bloxham
Jolyon Palmer from Southwater celebrates his Sprint Race win in Bahrain. Pictures by Sam Bloxham

Jolyon Palmer holds a ten-point lead in the GP2 Championship standings after an exceptional start to his season in Bahrain.

The talented young driver from Southwater claimed pole position and a podium in Saturday’s Feature Race, before storming to victory in the Sprint Race on Sunday.

Jolyon Palmer, Southwater racer

Jolyon Palmer, Southwater racer

On his debut for French team DAMS the 23-year-old racer took a second career GP2 pole position in qualifying, and despite a slow start to the Feature Race, fought back well to open his account with an excellent third place finish behind Stoffel Vandoorne and Julian Leal.

With the top eight finishers in race one reversed on the starting grid for the Sprint Race, Jolyon, son of MotorSport Vision Chief Executive and former-F1 racer Jonathan Palmer, lined up sixth for Sunday’s encounter and made a brilliant start to rise to second at the first corner.

Pressurising leader Simon Trummer around the opening lap, Jolyon made his move for the lead across the line starting of lap two and then maintained a comfortable gap over his rivals for the remainder of the 23-lap contest to take victory, and with it, the championship lead.

After also taking points for pole position and for setting fastest lap in both races, Jolyon holds a ten-point advantage over nearest rival Julian Leal in the Formula One feeder series.

Speaking after his race win Jolyon said: “Yesterday was first to sixth in one lap and now it’s sixth to first! We definitely made up for yesterday and I’m absolutely delighted.

“We did a lot of homework overnight on the starts and on tyre degradation and we nailed them both.

“After the start it was just a case of managing the race and I had the two guys behind me and it wasn’t easy, but I’m really happy with the job we have done.

“The car feels great. On qualifying pace we are there and we showed that in pre season testing also.

“I was surprised yesterday that we didn’t quite have the race pace but today I think we’ve proved we’ve found a big step and hopefully now we’ll be very strong for the European season.”

Jolyon Palmer is back in GP2 action on at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain on May 9 to 11. Full coverage will be available on Jolyon’s official website, while TV coverage of all sessions will be available on the Sky F1 channel.