Magnussen reigns in Spain
Kevin Magnussen (DAMS) backed up his impressive start to the Formula Renault 3.5 Series season with a fine win in Saturday’s race at Motorland Aragon, the Dane taking maximum points ahead of Will Stevens (P1 by Strakka Racing) and Arthur Pic (AV Formula) to move to the top of the championship standings.
In a morning qualifying session held on a wet track, Kevin Magnussen recorded the fastest time to take pole for race one from Sergey Sirotkin (ISR) and Antonio Felix da Costa (Arden Caterham). The Portuguese driver was later demoted to the back of the grid after running out of fuel at end of the session.
The track had dried out by the time race start came around, polesitter Kevin Magnussen staying ahead of the field as the lights went out. Jumping up from row three to second place at the first turn was Arthur Pic, while Sergey Sirotkin, Christopher Zanella (ISR), Marco Sorensen (Lotus), Norman Nato (DAMS), Stoffel Vandoorne (Fortec Motorsports), Nigel Melker (Tech 1 Racing) and Will Stevens (P1 by Strakka Racing) completed the top nine. From his back-row position Antonio Felix da Costa (Arden Caterham) climbed up to 18th by the end of lap one.
Nico Muller (International Draco Racing) was the first to bear the consequences of some keenly contested exchanges in the bunch, the Swiss driver crashing out, while up ahead Kevin Magnussen quickly settled into a groove on the Spanish track, posting several fastest laps to take nearly a second a lap out of his closest pursuer Arthur Pic.
Among the leaders Stoffel Vandoorne, Marco Sorensen and Christopher Zanella all fell off the pace to allow Norman Nato to move into fourth and take the attack to Sergey Sirotkin in third. Nipping past the Russian into second, the Frenchman then had to contend with the charging Will Stevens, who found his way past Sergey Sirotkin and into third. Not to be denied, the Briton caught Arthur Pic and slipped past him and into second on the last lap.
In a class of his own, Magnussen took the checkered flag by some 20 seconds from Will Stevens and Arthur Pic, with the remaining points placings being taken by Sergey Sirotkin, Norman Nato, Nigel Melker, Christopher Zanella, Stoffel Vandoorne, Marco Sorensen and Mikhail Aleshin. After starting last Antonio Felix da Costa eventually finished 13th.
What they said:
Kevin Magnussen: "It’s only the start of the championship but it’s still important to go out and score big. I had a very good car today and I made sure I didn’t make any mistakes."
Will Stevens: "I was disappointed with our results at Monza, and we needed to score points today. The car has a lot to offer in the way of performance, especially in the dry. I was able to attack throughout the race."
Arthur Pic: "I’m very pleased for AV Formula, who were racing at home here. The stable did a lot of hard work this winter and we’ve made a lot of progress with the car’s race set-up. It’s a good result on a track that I’m especially fond of."
Results - 27 laps:
||Antonio F. da Costa