Parente wins big After leading from start to finish, Alvaro Parente took his first win of the season. It was also Tech 1 Racing's first win in World Series Formula Renault 3.5. Sebastian Vettel's (Carlin Motorsport) runner-up spot means that he...
Parente wins big
After leading from start to finish, Alvaro Parente took his first win of the season. It was also Tech 1 Racing's first win in World Series Formula Renault 3.5. Sebastian Vettel's (Carlin Motorsport) runner-up spot means that he remains the championship leader. Although Monaco driver Clivio Piccione was third for long periods, the final podium spot went to Salvador Duran (Interwetten.com).
Alvaro Parente got off to the best start from pole and led the field into Sainte-Devote ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Clivio Piccione. Despite the traditional jostling for position in the main field, all twenty-six cars made it through the first corner without incident. Kimball and NuÃ±ez were the first to retire after clashing at Mirabeau.
At the end of the first lap, there was precious little to choose between Parente, Vettel and Piccione. Salvador Duran, who had made the best start, was already off the pace. The Mexican was pursued by Pavlovic, Van der Garde, Hanley, Aleshin, Valsecchi and Fauzy. The safety car was brought out after two laps, after Kimball and NuÃ±ez clashed.
Racing resumed at the end of lap 3. The three leaders pulled away again whilst Fairuz Fauzy was forced to retire, leaving Guillaume Moreau in 10th. Shortly afterwards, Ricardo Risatti went off at Massenet.
With 5 gone, Parente, Vettel and Piccione were within 1.2 seconds of each other. Duran and Pavlovic were the only ones who could keep pace with the three leaders. A good way back, Van der Garde was being pushed hard by Hanley and Aleshin. In the space of two laps, Parente extended his lead, which stood at over a second as the cars swept past the Royal Box for a seventh time.
At the start of lap 10, Alessandro Ciompi, who was lying in 17th position, ran into the barriers at Sainte-Devote. Vettel took the fastest race lap from Parente, as he closed the gap to the leader. A few lengths back of the leaders, Clivio Piccione could see Salvador Duran looming large in his mirrors.
At the halfway stage, the gap between Parente and Vettel was down to 6/10ths. The Portuguese driver was however able to respond: he grabbed the fastest race lap and stretched his lead again. Hit by a gearbox problem, Vettel made a minor error at the second chicane at Swimming Pool: he lost 8/10ths, but caught it up in no time! Barba, who was outside of the points, snatched the fastest race lap. He came into the pits to put on a fresh set of tyres and make sure of holding onto the best time.
With 20 of the 25 laps gone, it was as you were, with the leading three of Parente-Vettel-Piccione separated once again by less than two seconds. But a twist in the tail then saw Piccione make a costly error as he exited Sainte-Devote! Salvador Duran inherited the final podium spot and Marco Bonanomi moved into the points!
At the front, the scrap for victory was not quite over. Parente and Vettel went into the last two laps with less than 5/10ths between them! The German, quicker at that point, waited in vain for Parente to make a mistake. But his fading hopes were dashed as the yellow flags came out after Miguez went off at Swimming Pool.
Alvaro Parente: "I had a good start and I stayed on the inside line to defend my position. The car was under-steering a little on the slow corners, but the grip was good and I was able to run my race without any problems."
Sebastian Vettel: "I had a scare when I couldn't engage first gear at the start of the warm-up lap. You have to say that Alvaro had a great race. We were extremely close in terms of pace, but he didn't make any mistakes despite the pressure I put him under. I had to fight with the car, but that's normal for such a demanding race."
Salvador Duran: "I had a good start, which meant I was able to get past Pavlovic going into the first corner. After that I pushed really hard whilst trying to spare my tyres. I had few brake problems, but I managed to keep pace with the leaders."