Dams Budapest GP2 review

Jolyon Palmer and DAMS can have a carefree holiday

43 and 18 points represent the lead that the British driver and the Sarthe-based team have over their rivals as the GP2 season takes its summer break. Jolyon Palmer tightened his stranglehold on the championship on the very twisty Hungarian circuit compared to his main rival for the title, Felipe Nasr, as he finished in front of the Brazilian in both races after a couple of ding-dong battles. His team-mate, Stéphane Richelmi, had a less successful weekend as he was eliminated in a collision in race 1. His fight back from 25th to 12th place on Sunday shows that he has lost none of his outright pace. In free practice DAMS fired a warning shot across the bows of its rivals with Richelmi setting the third-quickest time and Palmer the fourth even if the British driver was harpooned by a rival. The team's performance in qualifying came as a surprise as Jonathan failed to make the front row for the first time this season setting the sixth-quickest time. Richelmi was fastest on his first run, but then engine failure meant that he had to make do with 10th position on the grid. The result of the first race depended on tyre strategy and coping with the safety car deployment. Palmer started on hard tyres for a long run like his championship rivals, but he was caught out by the safety car deployment on lap 6 following the accident in which his team-mate was eliminated. Thus, those who had started on soft rubber were able to carry out their pit stops and then continue till the finish. Using all his fighting spirit and his talent the Brit sliced his way back up to fifth place (transformed into fourth after Coletti's penalty), after a stirring battle with Nasr. On Sunday he made a great start and clinched a dominant second place in front of Nasr as well as consolidating his lead in the championship chase. DAMS and its no. 1 driver can now enjoy their holidays thanks to their comfortable lead in both championships. Obviously, the team will not rest on its laurels as they are up against very tough rivals in what is a hard-fought title battle. It will restart at the end of August on the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit on which DAMS scored three top-3 finishes in the last two years. François Sicard, Managing Director: "We can have a few days' holidays in a relaxed frame of mind. This weekend we consolidated our position as leaders and I'd like to thank the whole team for doing a great job. Jolyon didn't win any races but he's gained a psychological advantage over his rival thanks to his two fantastic performances in which he showed his combativeness and his dash. I'm really sorry for Stéphane. We still haven't managed to get the monkey off his back. His drive on Sunday will do him a world of good. Rendezvous at the end of August for what's looks like a hectic restart!" Jolyon Palmer: "Overall; I'm very happy with the way the weekend worked out. A big thanks to the guys in the garage. My car was fantastic and I had great fun. I also enjoyed the battle with my main rival, all the more so as I emerged victorious each time! I'm going to have some rest, but I'll be back at Spa more determined than ever." Stéphane Richelmi: "My run of bad luck continues: a new engine that failed in qualifying, the collision on Saturday. It's a pity because on my only qualifying lap I proved that I could aim for a place on the front row. I'd like to say a big thanks to the mechanics who worked all night to rebuild my car. I was thinking of them as I fought my way back on Sunday to try and score the best result possible. I'm counting on offering them some podium finishes before the end of the season as a reward." Next round: Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) 23-24 August

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