The third round of the 2014 GP2 season took place at Monaco this weekend, and once again it was British driver Jolyon Palmer who dominated proceedings, winning the feature race to surge into a 46-point lead at the top of the championship.
On Sunday, he could only come home in seventh place, but his DAMS teammate Stephane Richelmi kept the team’s flag flying by winning on home soil. The Monegasque racer came under pressure from Sergio Canamasas, but ultimately managed to hang on and claim his first win in GP2.
The feature race on Saturday was quite extraordinary. After a poor start, Palmer dropped to second place behind Mitch Evans, but regained the lead with a great overtake into Sainte Devote. Further back, the action reached fever pitch when Rene Binder and Andre Negrao came together at the Loews hairpin, blocking the track. A red flag was required to clear up the mess, but the race restarted 35 minutes later.
As Palmer and Evans continued to fight for the lead, Stefano Coletti was a man on a mission, quickly coming up through the order. On the super-soft tire, he looked capable of winning the race, but made one brave move too many and collided with Simon Trummer. Ultimately, Palmer managed to hold on ahead of Evans and Williams junior driver Felipe Nasr.
On Sunday, it was all about Richelmi. For the second year in a row, a driver from Monaco had won the GP2 sprint race at home. To cap off a great weekend for DAMS, Norman Nato claimed his maiden win in Formula Renault 3.5, which was also supporting the F1 race.
However, it was another disappointing weekend for the American drivers. Conor Daly and Alexander Rossi could only record best results on 10th and 11th in the sprint race, and both will be hoping for an upturn in fortunes at the next round in Austria in June.
For now though, Palmer is the dominant force. Should he throw it away from here as Coletti did in 2013, it would be a remarkable choke. However, as is the case in GP2, anything can and usually does happen.