Wickens takes maiden victory at Silverstone Carlin driver Robert Wickens took his maiden win in Formula Renault 3.5 today and the team's first victory of the season in an action packed World Series meeting at the Silverstone circuit in ...
Wickens takes maiden victory at Silverstone
Carlin driver Robert Wickens took his maiden win in Formula Renault 3.5 today and the team's first victory of the season in an action packed World Series meeting at the Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire. A series of quick laps and a fantastic pit stop from the Carlin mechanics allowed the Red Bull driver to snatch the lead from Giedo van der Garde. Despite continued pressure from van der Garde over the final ten laps of the race, Wickens stayed ahead to take victory at the team's home race.
Starting Sunday's race from pole position, Wickens had a slow start away from the line, allowing van der Garde and Salvador Duran into first and second respectively. Pushing hard to make up the positions, Wickens had closed the gap to Duran by lap three, but wasn't quite close enough to find a way past the Mexican. Behind him, team mate Mikhail Aleshin had made a lightening start from 24th on the grid and was already up to 14th by the end of lap one.
As the pit window opened for the teams' mandatory pit stop, Aleshin was one of the first to stop, pulling into the pit lane on lap seven. Thanks to a quick pit stop by the Carlin team, Aleshin had made up two places as he returned to the track. Pushing hard to make up further places, the Russian spun two laps later, but managed to rejoin the race in 19th place.
Meanwhile ahead of him, team mate Wickens was leading the field as Duran and van der Garde had pitted early on. The Canadian put in a series of quick laps and was the last driver to pit on lap 15. The Carlin pit crew coped well with the pressure, performing another perfect pit stop to put Wickens just ahead of van der Garde and into the lead. The race was far from over however; with van der Garde piling on the pressure. With just four laps to go the gap was down to just 0.6 seconds, but Wickens withstood the pressure to cross the line just seven tenths of a second ahead of the Dutchman. Team mate Aleshin made up one further place to finish 18th.
Reflecting on his first World Series victory, Wickens said, "I'm so happy to have won here. I didn't get the best start, but I knew we had a lot of pace in the car so I just tried to make up as much time as I could. I was pushing really hard before the pit stop and have to thank the team for a great stop and my engineer for a brilliant strategy which put me just ahead of Giedo. He was closing on me in the final stages, but I was driving within myself and didn't want to make a mistake. We have been quick here all weekend and I'm really pleased that I was finally able to show what we are capable of and take a home win for the team."
Team Principal Trevor Carlin added, "Today was a great example of a driver and team working together. A good strategy, a brilliant pit stop and a series of quick laps from Robert all contributed to him taking his first win. Robert withstood the pressure brilliantly to hold off Giedo for the remaining ten laps. I'm so pleased that his obvious talent has finally been rewarded with a race win after a difficult start to the season."