Jean-Eric Vergne wins race 1 over Rossi
Leading from start to finish, Jean-Eric Vergne (Carlin) did exactly what was required of him to revive his championship aspirations. His second win of the season takes the Frenchman to within 15 points of Robert Wickens (Carlin), who finished fifth today. Alexander Rossi (Fortec Motorsports) was back in the points with a second-place finish, while Sergio Canamasas (BVM Target) is celebrating his first podium in Formula Renault 3.5 Series.
|(L to R) Rossi (2nd), Vergne (1st) and Canamasas (3rd)|
As in the two collective testing sessions, Jean-Eric Vergne went quickest in qualifying to earn his second pole position of the season. Sergio Canamasas was second fastest, but was relegated four places on the grid for a penalty he received at the Nürburgring, so Vergne was joined by Daniil Move (P1 Motorsport) on the front row.
A storm broke out an hour before the race to give the teams something to think about. But the drivers still went out on slicks. Daniel Ricciardo capitulated before the race even started, leaving the track on the formation lap.
Vergne had a good start. Daniil Move surprised him going into the first corner, but the Frenchman quickly regained the lead. At the end of the first lap, Vergne led from Daniil Move, Brendon Hartley (Charouz-Gravity), Alexander Rossi and Adam Carroll (P1 Motorsport). Further down the field Kevin Korjus (Tech 1 Racing) had moved up from 13thon the grid to 7th and Robert Wickens (Carlin) had gone from 11th to 8th.
Vergne gradually pulled away from Move. Meanwhile, there was an arduous battle between Brendon Hartley and Alexander Rossi for third place, while Adam Carroll was holding off Sergio Canamasas for fifth. Kevin Korjus and Robert Wickens were further behind, closely followed by Jan Charouz (Gravity-Charouz) and Albert Costa (Epic Racing).
While Vergne raced into the distance, Hartley and Rossi increased the pressure on Move. Albert Costa and Jan Charouz tangled to let Nelson Panciatici (KMP Racing) and Nathanael Berthon (ISR) back into the points.
On lap 16, Brendon Hartley tried to pass Move. There was contact between the two, and Hartley was able to slip by the Russian. Rossi took advantage of the coming together to follow Hartley past Move, who had to visit the pits due to a puncture. All this gave Vergne a lead of almost 10 seconds on Hartley and Rossi. Adam Carroll and Sergio Canamasas completed the top five.
But the race wasn’t over yet. With 10 minutes to go, Rossi sailed passed Hartley, who was nursing a damaged front wing. Canamasas was also moving up the field, having overtaken Carroll. Now up to fourth, the Spaniard was flying in the final laps and was able to catch Hartley. He could not pass him, but Canamasas benefited from a ten-second penalty imposed on Hartley at the end of the race to achieve his first podium in the category.
Jean-Eric Vergne: “Daniil was fast early in the race, so it was important to find my rhythm immediately. It’s not easy to recover from a weekend like the Nürburgring. In Germany, Alex Rossi and I ended the race in the wall, but today we’re both on the podium. I’m happy for Daniel Ricciardo that he’s been signed up for Formula One. I hope I’m next on the list, but for now I’ll keep doing my simulation work for Red Bull and we’ll see if I receive a phone call in the next few weeks to do something else.”
Alexander Rossi: “I have not scored any points since Monza, so I needed a big result. I had some luck today, unlike in the last few races.”
Sergio Canamasas: “I’m so happy to have earned my first podium and the first podium for BVM Target. We are improving race by race, and this result is a reward for all the work we’ve done. We need to continue like this and maybe we can win a race before the end of the year.”
Results - 29 laps:
||Daniel de Jong
||DNF 19 laps|
||DNF 17 laps|
||DNF 12 laps|
||DNF 11 laps|
||DNF 7 laps|
||DNF 0 laps|