On Sunday, Roberto Merhi took his second victory in this year’s Formula Renault 3.5 Series.
Six years after his win at the Nürburgring in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, the Spaniard has won on this same circuit ahead of the Lotus duo of Matthieu Vaxiviere and Marlon Stockinger. In the championship, Roberto Merhi (Zeta Corse) is now second overall, 39 points behind countryman Carlos Sainz (DAMS), who was eliminated in a first corner incident.
On a drying track surface this morning, Roberto Merhi took his second pole position of the season ahead of Oscar Tunjo (Pons Racing) and championship leader, Carlos Sainz. Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports) and Matthieu Vaxiviere, back this weekend from injury, completed the top five.
At the start, Roberto Merhi held on to the lead. Behind him, Oscar Tunjo missed his braking point and clipped Oliver Rowland, which resulted in Carlos Sainz being sent into the gravel. All three drivers retired, as did Beitske Visser (AVF), Matias Laine (Strakka Racing) and Meindert van Buuren (Pons Racing), who all suffered the consequences of a very hectic opening lap.
Following the safety car period, Roberto Merhi led from the Lotus pair of Matthieu Vaxiviere and Marlon Stockinger. Sergey Sirotkin (Fortec Motorsports) and Zoel Amberg (AVF) followed the leaders. The top five remained intact after the mandatory tyre changes, but Matthieu Vaxiviere closed the gap to race leader, Roberto Merhi.
Roberto Merhi held on all the way to the chequered flag to take his second victory of the season. With his runner-up finish, Matthieu Vaxiviere took his maiden podium result in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series in finishing ahead of team-mate Marlon Stockinger. Sergey Sirotkin and Zoel Amberg finished just off the podium ahead of Norman Nato (DAMS), Will Stevens (Strakka Racing) and Pierre Gasly (Arden Motorsport), who battled his way up the field from his second to last position on the starting grid. Jazeman Jaafar (ISR) and William Buller (Arden Motorsport) completed the top ten.
Roberto Merhi: “We are getting stronger and stronger at each meeting. I was careful at the start in paying attention to the drivers behind me and I was smart to do so! The safety car wasn’t good for me because it erased my lead from Matthieu, who was very quick today. Happily, we made a good pit stop to come back out just ahead and wrap up an excellent weekend with this victory.”
Matthieu Vaxiviere: “I am very happy to come back in this manner! We were very fast today, but Roberto didn’t make a single mistake. He was hard to catch and it is always difficult to pass on this track. Nevertheless, I am ecstatic with this second place and I am pleased for the team because Marlon finished third!”
Marlon Stockinger: “The team gave me an excellent car this weekend. We could always run in the top five. Unfortunately, I couldn’t exploit the DRS to its full potential. I am also thrilled about Matthieu’s return. We both finished in the points. We are progressing and I hope that it will continue after the summer break!”
Provisional General Classification *
1. C. Sainz – 157 points
2. R. Merhi – 118
3. P. Gasly – 103
4. O. Rowland – 96
5. S. Sirotkin – 89
*Subject to confirmation of the results following the technical and sporting verifications.