Carlin team clinches World Series by Renault title
With two pole positions and two race wins, Carlin’s Robert Wickens has enjoyed the perfect weekend at Silverstone. The Canadian’s double success means he leaves the UK with a solid lead at the top of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series championship standings. It also secures a first Teams title for Carlin boss Trevor Carlin and his famous British team – a victory they fittingly celebrate on home soil. Alexander Rossi (Fortec Motorsports) and Daniel Ricciardo (ISR) completed the podium in a repeat of yesterday’s result. However, Rossi was later disqualified for a technical infringement, handing second place to Ricciardo and third to Nathanael Berthon.
Robert Wickens was held up in traffic outside the Silverstone circuit this morning, and as a result he missed the opening ten minutes of qualifying. However, the delay did not prevent the Canadian from scoring his sixth pole of the season, qualifying ahead of team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne to complete an all-Carlin front row. Similarly, the second row was an all-ISR affair, with Nathanael Berthon starting in front of Daniel Ricciardo.
Vergne made a good start to the race, but it was Wickens who led as they went into the first turn. Behind the Carlin pair, Berthon did not enjoy the best of starts and was overtaken by Ricciardo and Albert Costa (Epic Racing). Wickens led the race at the end of the first lap, with Vergne, Ricciardo, Costa, Berthon, Alexander Rossi and Jake Rosenzweig following behind.
Wickens, Vergne, Ricciardo and Costa set a blistering pace at the start of the race and built a lead over the chasing pack, headed up by Berthon. A number of drivers decided to alter their strategies, including Rossi, who went into the pits very early on. Costa was the first driver from the front of the field to make his stop, while the rest of the leaders decided to bide their time. Vergne and Ricciardo made their stops at the same time, with the Australian Ricciardo rejoining the race ahead of France’s Vergne. Everything ran like clockwork for Wickens, and the Marussia Virgin Racing reserve driver, rejoined the race ahead of Rossi, Ricciardo, Vergne and Costa.
Vergne, who fell from second to fourth after his detour to the pits, set his sights on overtaking Ricciardo and moving up into third. The two Red Bull Junior Team drivers were then involved in a heated but fair battle for position, at which point Costa decided to join the fray. However, Berthon – the last driver to pit – rejoined the race behind team-mate Ricciardo, snatching fourth place from under Vergne’s nose in the process.
The race order remained unchanged, and Wickens took the checkered flag for his fourth victory of the season. The impressive win stretches Wickens’ lead at the top of the championship standings, and secures a first Formula Renault 3.5 Series Teams title for Carlin on home soil. Ricciardo and Berthon eventually completed the podium, after Rossi was disqualified for a technical infringement [Editor's Note: Look for Rossi to ditch the lowly Fortec team next year for a better one as he cannot afford to have their incompetence ruin his F1 aspirations].