28 July 2014
War of words between Palmer and Nasr after Hungary
The rivalry between leading GP2 championship contenders Jolyon Palmer and Felipe Nasr erupted into a heated war of words following Sunday's sprint race.
Emotions were running high at the Hungaroring on Sunday, after a fierce on-track duel between the two leading contenders in the GP2 drivers' championship spilled over to become an angry war of words between the pair off-track as well.
DAMS' Jolyon Palmer managed to pass Carlin driver Felipe Nasr for position during the early stages of the Hungary sprint race, on his way to finishing in second place and eking out his lead over Nasr in the title battle.
But neither driver was impressed with the other's actions during their on-track battle, and they had words first in parc fermé and then on their way up to the podium, where the bad feeling between them surfaced again in the post-race interviews with GP2 commentator Will Buxton when Palmer accused Nasr of "crying" over the incident.
"I passed a few people very fairly but unfortunately Nasr was the most aggressive of them all," Palmer said later. "I went up the inside and he squeezed me in the braking zone all the way to the inside and it was really tight.
"I've not touched anyone in racing all year," Palmer pointed out in the official post-race press conference. "No one moves in the braking zone because it's pretty well known it's dangerous to do that. He did.
"We didn't touch," Palmer added. "It meant I was a bit wide and there was no room for him. I'm on the inside. I stuck to my line. It's a normal racing move."
Nasr wasn't taking that criticism lying down, however, and said that he was disappointed with the quality of driving that Palmer had shown on Sunday.
"We had a small fight with Palmer and I just expected better driver standards from him because he did the same yesterday by pushing another car off the track," the Brazilian complained. "This is the kind of driving that is not very fair when you're fighting for the title.
"If I leave the door opened, I expect the same from him," he added. "But this is not happening from him. Anyway, I was a bit disappointed."
The net result of the overtaking move means that Palmer adds another two points to his already formidable lead in the 2014 drivers championship. He now has 192 points with four more rounds to go compared with Nasr's 149 points, and when asked by the GP2 Media Service he admitted that it was getting hard not to think about winning the title.
"Yeah I can't keep saying I'm not thinking about it anymore," he chuckled. "I do think about it now. I just have to do my best and see what happens. I will try to qualify in the front, try to win races and we'll see from there."
Not that Nasr has given up either: "Nothing's over yet," he pointed out. "One weekend can turn things around pretty quickly and I'm really looking forward to that because now we have the car for qualifying and if we keep doing what we're doing, we have a very good chance."
Both drivers will have a chance to cool off and regroup before the next round of the 2014 season, which will be at the historic Spa-Francorchamps circuit on August 22-24 after the summer break.
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