Jolyon Palmer takes GP2 Feature Race win in Singapore
Carlin finish one, two. Leimer extends his championship lead
By William Esler
Last Updated: 26/09/13 2:11pm
The British driver started from pole, but bogged down on the line and dropped to fifth as the cars piled into the first corner.
He quickly got back up to third and on lap three made a lovely move up the inside of Fabio Leimer to take second and following his mandatory pit-stop produced one of the drives of the season to overhaul a 12-second gap to Felipe Nasr and take the win by over 13 seconds.
With Palmer making a slow getaway, Nasr stormed into the lead from P2 on the grid, closely followed by Drivers' Championship leader Leimer. James Calado got up to third from eighth on the grid by using the run-off area on the outside of turn one, but somehow avoided a penalty as Palmer was shuffled back.
Another Brit to suffer at the start was Sam Bird, who dropped from tenth to 13th on the opening lap despite starting on the supersoft tyre. Things got worse when the wheel gun failed at his pit-stop, but a controlled drive and some fantastic overtakes - most notably on Sergio Canamasas - saw the RUSSIAN TIME driver work his way up to eighth at the chequered flag and take reverse grid pole for Sunday's Sprint Race.
Leimer was another to suffer a calamity in the pits - his right-rear tyre got loose as it was removed during his stop and bounced across the pit-lane, fortunately missing the oncoming traffic and Racing Engineering will surely be penalised for that error.
On lap nine Julian Leal challenged Nathanael Berthon into Turn 13 and the pair made contact as they crossed the bridge eliminating both cars. Perhaps fearing a Safety Car, Nasr jumped straight into the pits and changed only his rear tyres, but was delayed as the team struggled to get the nut on his left-rear.
Palmer stayed out, but on fresher rubber Nasr was two seconds a lap faster and by the time the Brit rejoined after his stop, he trailed the Brazilian by 12 seconds. However, he was the quickest man on the track and within eight laps had closed the gap to just 0.3 seconds, slicing past his team-mate with three laps remaining to take victory.
"I didn't make it easy for myself! At the start I got anti stall and dropped to fourth or fifth," Palmer said.
"It was crucial to make the early passes so I could chase Felipe. I think that was one of the drives of my life and it's definitely been the weekend of my life.
"It's always tough with the tyres and the temperatures were really hot so it was always going to be tough. We decided just to change the rears and did the full 28 laps on the same front tyres.
"I enjoy this style of racing but it's always on your mind to save the tyres. I think chasing Felipe down from 13 seconds behind was a real challenge but I was very relieved to pass him!"
Calado held off a late charge from Stephane Richelmi to take third, whilst fifth was enough for Leimer to extend his Championship lead over Bird.
GP2 Feature Race - Singapore
1) Jolyon Palmer (GBR) - Carlin - 57:14.130
2) Felipe Nasr (BRA) - Carlin - +13.095
3) James Calado (GBR) - ART Grand Prix - +25.126
4) Stephane RIchelmi (MON) - DAMS - +25.713
5) Fabio Leimer (SWI) - Racing Engineering - +28.296
6) Tom Dillmann (FRA) - RUSSIAN TIME - +38.577
7) Marcus Ericsson (SWE) - DAMS - +45.448
8) Sam Bird (GBR) - RUSSIAN TIME - +45.685
9) Jon Lancaster (GBR) - Hilmer Motorsport - +51.981
10) Dani Clos (ESP) - MP Motorsport - +56.906
12) Stefano Coletti (MON) - Rapax - +1:04.741
22) Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (GBR) - Hilmer Motorsport - +1 lap
1) Fabio Leimer - 169
2) Sam Bird - 157
3) Felipe Nasr - 148
4) Stefano Coletti - 135
5) James Calado - 134
6) Jolyon Palmer - 99
7) Stephane Richelmi - 95
8) Tom Dillmann - 92
9) Marcus Ericsson - 88
10) Jon Lancaster - 67