American F1 hopeful Alexander Rossi won the opening Formula Renault 3.5 race of the season at Motorland Aragon. The Fortec driver fought a race long battle for the lead with Daniil Move, after polesitter Robert Wickens Carlin locked up his left-front wheel and ran wide into Turn 1 at the start.
In the end Rossi won going away from Wickens who recovered to pass Daniil Move for 2nd place but had nothing for Rossi who appears on track to be the next American in F1.
Move, from Russia and in his 5th year of the series, took first place at the start and was bidding to register his first victory in the series. He blocked Rossi's repeated attempts at an inside move into Motorland's Turn 1 and Turn 16 hairpins on repeated occasions.
Rossi upped the pressure on lap 10, but an attempt to pass Move around the outside of Turn 1 resulted in a spectacular sideways moment on the exit of the corner once he hit the marbles. Two laps later, Rossi beat Move in the race for the inside line onto the pit straight and grabbed the lead in dramatic fashion.
The American elected to squeeze between Move's P1 Motorsport car and the pit wall, forcing several teams to yank back their pit-boards or risk having them or their hand broken.
"Well, I was really hoping they would move the pit boards," said Rossi. "It was a bit dicey for a second, but Daniil hadn't made any mistakes up until then so I had to force the issue. Once I was alongside, I thought Daniil was very clean."
"I made a stupid mistake at the start," said Wickens. "I had already made a good launch away from the line, but I just misjudged my braking. I expected there to be more grip, I guess."
Once up into second, Wickens was unable to make inroads into a 4.5-second deficit to Rossi, and would concede an 8.5s margin of victory at the checkered flag.
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