Member of the Red Bull Junior Team, the Spaniard Carlos Sainz dominated the two sessions of the day at Monza.
After six days of studious winter collective testing, the Formula Renault 3.5 Series headed into action at the Autodromo di Monza. Carlos Sainz (DAMS) was quickest on Friday at the “Temple of Speed”. Member of the Red Bull Junior Team, the Spaniard dominated the two sessions of the day ahead of Luca Ghiotto (International Draco Racing) and Jazeman Jaafar (ISR).
The competitors of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series were treated to ideal weather conditions at the Italian circuit. Carlos Sainz quickly moved to the top of the order on this first day of season 10 for the headliner category of the World Series by Renault.
The DAMS driver led for a majority of the morning session and improved his best lap three times in the final ten minutes to increase his lead. With a time of 1’34’’207, he dominated Marlon Stöckinger (Lotus), Zoël Amberg (AVF), Sergey Sirotkin (Fortec Motorsports) and Will Stevens (Strakka Racing) when the chequers were shown. Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports) was fastest among the newcomers, eighth overall.
The Sauber F1 Team reserve driver answered, but fellow Russian Nikolay Martsenko (Comtec Racing) improved on his best time to move to the top before a brief pause in the session provoked by Matias Laine (Strakka Racing). With ten minutes remaining, Carlos Sainz put in the fastest lap of the day in 1’33’’731, ahead of the quickest rookie in the afternoon, Luca Ghiotto. Jazeman Jaafar, Pietro Fantin (International Draco Racing) and Nikolay Martsenko completed the top five.
Carlos Sainz: ”Right from the first lap, the car was nicely balanced, which is one of the biggest challenge at this track. Lap after lap, we built the confidence to reach the limits very quickly and I had two good sessions. Unfortunately, it was only practice and my rivals can catch up tomorrow. So, we can’t allowed to be too confident!”
Luca Ghiotto: ”This morning, the focus was on race set-up. The speed came quickly and we seem to be in good shape with the new tyres. I am rather pleased because the car was very good straight away despite the challenges the track presents. I am now confident for tomorrow!”
Jazeman Jaafar: ”Finding the right aerodynamic down force is always a bit of a challenge at Monza. We made some significant progress between the two sessions in optimizing the downforce and the ratios, but also in going with new tyres. I was a bit hampered by the red flag, because Sergey held me up a little on my best lap. It looks like it will be a good weekend.”