Starting from pole, the Sauber F1 Team reserve driver was joined on the podium by Zoel Amberg and Pietro Fantin.
In front of his countrymen, Sergey Sirotkin (Fortec Motorsports) has taken his maiden victory in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. Starting from pole, also his first in the category, the Sauber F1 Team reserve driver was joined on the podium by Zoel Amberg (AVF) and Pietro Fantin (International Draco Racing) at the end of a race where the top three in the general classification remained blocked on the grid. Out of the points on Saturday, Carlos Sainz (DAMS) is all the same assured of leaving Russia on Sunday as the championship leader. The Red Bull Junior Team will have an F1 test run at the Nürburgring in two weeks.
Earlier in the day, Sergey Sirotkin won his first pole position in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, beating defending Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 champion, Pierre Gasly (Arden Motorsports). Zoel Amberg and Pietro Fantin qualified on row two.
The start procedure was aborted because three cars remained blocked on the starting grid, they were the top three in the championship standings: Carlos Sainz, Pierre Gasly and Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports). When the lights went out, Sergey Sirotkin maintained the lead and pulled out a small lead from Zoel Amberg. The Swiss driver also pulled away from Pietro Fantin, who was in a scrap with Roberto Merhi (Zeta Corse) and Jazeman Jaafar (ISR).
On lap seven, Oliver Rowland’s race ended in a gravel trap, following contact with Carlos Sainz. Meanwhile, Zoel Amberg closed the gap to Sergey Sirotkin, but the Russian answered to maintain his lead at one second. Behind them, Pietro Fantin was able to hold off Roberto Merhi, who was defending his position from Jazeman Jaafar.
At the end of lap 29, Sergey Sirotkin crossed the line to take his first triumph in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. Zoel Amberg and Pietro Fantin made their respective first trips to the podium in the category. Robert Mehri held on for fourth place ahead of Jazeman Jaafar, Will Stevens (Strakka Racing), Marlon Stockinger (Lotus), Matias Laine (Strakka Racing) and Richie Stanaway (Lotus). Tenth place Oscar Tunjo (Pons Racing) scored his first point in the series following his debut at Spa-Francorchamps.
Sergey Sirotkin: “Thank you to everyone. This is incredible. It is the best moment of my life! The season got off to a bad start, but the team made good use of the short break to bounce back. And there is no better place to do it! We started strong in practice and it moved on today. It wasn’t easy to manage the temperature in the rear tyres, but we came through. Thanks to the entire team, really!”
Zoel Amberg: “The team worked really hard and to take this first podium fills us with joy. After the Spa meeting where we dropped out of both races, we’ve come back. Tomorrow, I will maybe have the chance to win because today, I was able to close in on Sergey with the DRS, but then I had some problems with the front tyres!”
Pietro Fantin: “We really started the season badly, including the test day at Moscow. We made changes to the car that proved to be very wise. This is very impressive to be on the podium when you realize where we were yesterday! I am very happy about this result.”
Provisional General Classification (*): 1. C. Sainz – 124 points, 2. P. Gasly – 81, 3. W. Stevens – 76, 4. O. Rowland – 74, 5. J. Jaafar – 56, …
(*) Subject to confirmation of the results following the technical and sporting verifications.