Bianchi ends wait for first FR3.5 Series win

Jules Bianchi (Tech 1 Racing) led from start to finish at the Nürburgring to claim his first victory in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, with Nico Müller (International Draco Racing) and Robin Frijns (Fortec Motorsports) finishing second and third respectively. By finishing third, 2011 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 champion Frijns takes the overall championship lead and edges ever closer to an appearance in the Red Bull Racing F1 exhibition – the prize at stake for the man at the top of the standings at the end of the weekend.

Robin Frijns and Jules Bianchi engaged in a brilliant duel in qualifying. French driver Bianchi eventually got the better of his Dutch rival, putting in a perfect lap to claim his maiden pole position in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. The drivers had 450 seconds of DRS at their disposal for the race.

Bianchi made a perfect start to the race, but the same cannot be said for Frijns and Arthur Pic (Dams). Nico Müller, who started fourth on the grid, took advantage of the pair’s less than ideal getaway to move up into second place. Bianchi, Müller and Frijns began to pull away after the first lap, while Pic, fourth at this stage, fought to keep Kevin Magnussen (Carlin), Walter Grubmüller (P1 Motorsport), Marco Sorensen (Lotus), Sam Bird (ISR), Antonio Felix da Costa (Arden Caterham) and Carlos Huertas (Fortec Motorsports) at bay.

The leading trio took advantage of the battle behind them and began to widen the gap, and after five laps, Bianchi, Müller and Frijns were almost five seconds ahead of Pic. The Frenchman held the upper hand over Magnussen, while Sorensen moved up into sixth after getting past Grubmüller with a perfect maneuver.

Bianchi was having a masterful race at the front of the field and managed to build a slim lead over Müller, who for his part was gradually moving away from Frijns. The most keenly contested battle was for Grubmuller’s seventh place, with the Austrian doing everything in his power to stop Sam Bird from sneaking past.

Frijns caught up with Müller towards the end of the race and launched a DRS-aided attack, but Müller refused to budge. The fight for fifth place was every bit as intense, with Sorensen also regaining contact with Magnussen.

From then, however, the race order remained unchanged. Bianchi, Sahara Force India’s third driver and a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, took the checkered flag to claim his first victory in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. With it, he became the sixth different winner in six races. Müller, for his part, finished second to make his first appearance on the podium this season. The biggest winner, however, was third-placed Robin Frijns, who moves top of the championship standings with a two-point lead over Sam Bird, who could only finish eighth.

What they said:

Jules Bianchi: “It’s never easy to win! We had a difficult start to the season, and even this weekend things started badly with the technical problems we suffered in collective testing. But I knew the car was quick, and that showed in qualifying. This victory really kick-starts my season. I’ll need more wins if I’m to have a real hope of winning the championship."

Nico Müller: “From the start, we knew we were in a good position to do well. This podium finish is the culmination of all the work we’ve done since the first tests. The season started very badly at Motorland Arag¢n, but since then we have made steady progress. It wasn’t possible for us to win today, but it will come eventually."

Robin Frijns: “I didn’t get off to a good start, to say the least. But after that, the race went well. We have the car to win and I was faster than Nico [Müller], but he defended his position perfectly without making the slightest mistake. I’m top of the championship tonight, but all I’m thinking about now is qualifying well tomorrow and getting a good result."


1 8 Jules BIANCHI FRA TECH 1 RACING 27 1:43.515
3 4 Robin FRIJNS NED FORTEC MOTORSPORTS 27 +10.468 1:43.982
4 28 Arthur PIC FRA DAMS 27 +11.513 1:43.899
5 1 Kevin MAGNUSSEN DEN CARLIN 27 +25.057 1:44.275
6 12 Marco SØRENSEN DEN LOTUS 27 +28.187 1:44.264
7 9 Walter GRUBMÃœLLER AUT P1 MOTORSPORT 27 +34.083 1:44.677
8 5 Sam BIRD GBR ISR 27 +35.356 1:44.854
9 26 Antonio Felix DA COSTA POR ARDEN CATERHAM 27 +36.257 1:44.803
10 2 Will STEVENS GBR CARLIN 27 +42.100 1:45.060
11 6 Jake ROSENZWEIG USA ISR 27 +44.640 1:44.945
12 11 Cesar RAMOS BRA LOTUS 27 +50.390 1:44.472
13 17 Mikhail ALESHIN RUS TEAM RFR 27 +53.947 1:45.414
14 7 Kevin KORJUS EST TECH 1 RACING 27 +54.519 1:45.424
15 10 Daniil MOVE RUS P1 MOTORSPORT 27 +55.727 1:44.790
16 20 Zoel AMBERG SUI PONS RACING 27 +1:05.767 1:45.659
17 19 Yann CUNHA BRA PONS RACING 27 +1:06.320 1:45.759
18 25 Alexander ROSSI USA ARDEN CATERHAM 27 +1:06.766 1:44.792
19 22 André NEGRÃO BRA INTERNATIONAL DRACO RACING 27 +1:07.585 1:45.619
20 18 Anton NEBYLITSKIY RUS TEAM RFR 27 +1:09.516 1:45.568
21 16 Nicolay MARTSENKO RUS BVM TARGET 27 +1:26.866 1:45.751
22 15 Giovanni VENTURINI ITA BVM TARGET 27 +1:43.548 1:46.654
23 3 Carlos HUERTAS COL FORTEC MOTORSPORTS 26 1 Lap 1:44.816
DNF 27 Lucas FORESTI BRA DAMS 11 6 175.9

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