The sight of Jolyon Palmer's car pulling off the track at the start of a GP2 race had becoming something of a recurring theme - and a positive nightmare for Palmer and iSport International. But having decided to build a brand new car from scratch in the short interval between Barcelona and Monaco, the team reaped a big reward with victory in the sprint race this weekend.
"I have to say a big thank you to iSport for all their hard work after an unlucky start to the season," said a beaming Palmer. "We've been really quick, and our four weekends I think have been the worst luck ever in motor racing history on my side," he laughed. "I've only started 3 races before this weekend from the grid.
"I got off to an awesome start to jump into the lead, and after the safety car I was able to build a good lead." While that lead had been whittled down to almost nothing by the end of the race, Palmer confirmed that everything had been under control all along and that there had been no dramas: "I just managed the gap to Max Chilton without taking any risks."
"This weekend has really kick started our season and given everybody a boost," said team principal Paul Jackson. "It is a very special occasion for Jolyon, and confirms the huge progress he has made and his growing stature as a real contender."
The team almost made it a double podium celebration, with Marcus Ericsson coming close to breaking into the top three during the race.
"Marcus came from 7th through to 4th," pointed out Jackson. "Marcus has also shown that without bad luck or stupid incidents, he is back at the front where he belongs."
Instead, Palmer was joined on the podium by Carlin's Max Chilton and Caterham's Giedo van der Garde.
"That was an amazing race today," said Chilton afterwards. "I was pretty lucky to avoid the accidents on the first lap, but I made a good start and was ahead of most of the chaos I think.
"I was held up behind [James] Calado for a long time which was frustrating, as I could see all the carbon fibre flying off his car," he continued. "Once he'd pitted I was able to push hard and the car felt fantastic."
The delay behind the stricken Lotus GP car had sealed the deal as far as challenging for the ultimate race victory went, however. "I was able to make up ten seconds on Palmer but unfortunately there wasn't enough time left to do anything more than that. Second is still a fantastic result though and to get it at Monaco makes it even more special."
For van der Garde it was his second podium of the weekend - particularly special at somewhere like Monaco.