Ricciardo over Rossi at Monza
Red Bull development driver and rumored to soon be F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo has won Monza race 2 of World Series by Renault after a race long battle with teammate Jean-Eric Vergne. Ricciardo actually finished behind Vergne, but Vergne was penalized 10 seconds for cutting a chicane.
That elevated American Alexander Rossi to 2nd place for Fortec. Rossi, who won the first race of the season against a very talented field, appears headed to F1 as we predicted a few years ago. He still needs a bit more seasoning, and he can be hot or cold, depending on whether the car is right, but obviously the speed is there as Ricciardo is very highly regarded in F1 circles and Rossi is never far behind him, and sometimes beats him.
Billed as hot favorite this season, Daniel Ricciardo (ISR) finally won his first race of the year at Monza. Yet it was Jean-Eric Vergne (Carlin) who crossed the finish line first, but the French driver received a ten second penalty for not staying on the racing line, putting him back into third place behind Daniel Ricciardo and Alexander Rossi (Fortec Motorsport). Jean-Eric Vergne leaves Monza as championship leader ahead of Alexander Rossi.
Just a few hours after the first race of the weekend in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, we were back on track for the second qualifying session, which saw nineteen drivers inside the same second. The advantage seemed to go to Robert Wickens (Carlin). The Canadian driver pulled out the quickest time, but was deprived of the pole for race 2 after receiving a penalty after the first race, after touching Cesar Ramos (Fortec Motorsport). The four place penalty for the Carlin driver meant Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne found themselves on the front row.
The track was still damp when the race got started, following overnight rain, but all the drivers lined up on slicks. There were some hairy moments through the first chicane, as Jean-Eric Vergne took command of the race ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, Albert Costa, Robert Wickens and Alexander Rossi. An unfortunate Kevin Korjus (Tech 1 Racing) was one of the drivers to fall victim to the action during these first seconds of the race.
Despite a damaged front wing, Jean-Eric Vergne kept Daniel Ricciardo, Robert Wickens and Albert Costa at bay. A little further back in fifth place, Alexander Rossi had Cesar Ramos snapping at his heels. These six remained bumper to bumper for several laps, until a coming together between Albert Costa and Robert Wickens clarified matters at the front of the race. The Canadian driver remained stranded and had to retire for the second time this weekend.
Alexander Rossi took advantage of the confusion to grab 3rd place. So Jean-Eric Vergne lead from Daniel Ricciardo, Rossi, Cesar Ramos and Albert Costa. On lap 10, Daniel Ricciardo tried a very late braking maneuver to get past Jean-Eric Vergne, but the French driver kept himself in front by cutting the chicane. The duel for first place between Vergne, Ricciardo and Rossi was thrilling and lit up the race, until Jean-Eric Vergne got a ten second penalty for deviating from the racing line. From then on Daniel Ricciardo was virtual race leader, ahead of Rossi. Fifth placed Arthur Pic was also sanctioned with a ten second penalty for jumping the start.
Jean-Eric Vergne kept up the pace right to the chequered flag, thereby building a lead of ten seconds + over Cesar Ramos in 4th and so successfully holding onto a place on the podium. Daniel Ricciardo was pronounced winner ahead of Alexander Rossi and Jean-Eric Vergne. This means five drivers have won at least one race after just six races this season. First yesterday and third today, Jean-Eric Vergne leaves Monza on top of the Championship standings.
Daniel Ricciardo: "The race was hectic, especially at the start. After that it was a bit frustrating because I never had a clear opportunity to get past. I knew that Jean-Eric was penalized, but if I’d had an opportunity to overtake him before the chequered flag, I’d have taken it. I needed the points from this victory after a difficult start to the season. I’ve had my ups and downs again this weekend, being sent to the back of the grid after qualifying yesterday."
Alexander Rossi: "We knew after free practice that we were quick. I didn’t do justice to the car in qualifying, but in the race everything went well. I’ve scored important points again. The championship is very tight and you can move from the top of the leaderboard to the bottom in a flash. So it’s crucial to be consistent."
Jean-Éric Vergne: "As far as I’m concerned I won the race! I drove the whole race with a damaged front wing and I finished with my tires really destroyed. I defended my place and I think the penalty’s a bit harsh, but there it is. The important thing today is that we're in the points and what I proved on the track. With Carlin, we're here for the title."
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