Carlos Sainz (Zeta Corse) eclipsed everyone as he made his Formula Renault 3.5 Series return in collective testing at the Hungaroring on Friday. The Spaniard posted the day’s quickest time ahead of Sergey Sirotkin (ISR) and William Buller (Zeta Corse), while the Danish duo of Marco Sorensen (Lotus) and Kevin Magnussen (DAMS), who dominated the morning session, came in fourth and fifth respectively.

The Formula Renault 3.5 Series field was out in force in Hungary following an eight-week summer layoff, with points leader Kevin Magnussen getting straight back into the groove and quickly setting a time for the rest of the pack to beat in the morning session, which was interrupted half an hour in when Mikhail Aleshin (Tech 1 Racing) and Norman Nato (DAMS) triggered a red flag.

Carlos Sainz
Carlos Sainz

Photo by: DPPI

After the appearance of the green flag Kevin Magnussen bettered his time twice only for compatriot Marco Sorensen to take the morning’s honours in the final seconds with a lap of 1:29.574. Following the Danish drivers on the timesheets were Carlos Sainz, Nico Muller (International Draco Racing) and Will Stevens (P1 by Strakka Racing).

Red Bull Junior Team members Carlos Sainz and Antonio Felix da Costa (Arden Caterham) dominated proceedings at the start of the afternoon, with Stoffel Vandoorne then going faster at the midway point. Twelve minutes from the chequered flag it was Sergey Sirotkin’s turn to go in front.

Carlos Sainz replied three minutes from the close with a time of 1:29.185, one that nobody was able better on account of the session being cut short by a red flag caused by Kevin Magnussen. Taking second on the timesheets behind the Spaniard was Sergey Sirotkin, with William Buller, Marco Sorensen and Kevin Magnussen completing the day’s top five.

Carlos Sainz: “I’m happy at setting the best time. It’s always better to start a weekend like this but you have to remember that it’s just testing. You never know what the other teams are doing with tyres and fuel or even the traffic they had. I love driving at this track and I always feel at ease here. We need to concentrate on qualifying now and try to come out on top.”

Sergey Sirotkin: “Testing wasn’t easy but the results were good. We used worn tyres this morning, but I still managed to go faster than my team-mate and we had some good pace. So it was a pretty good day really. We were second in the afternoon on new tyres. I made a little mistake so we need to concentrate in qualifying, improve my driving and make a few adjustments.”

Marco Sorensen: “It’s good to come back and be fighting it out at the top. Even so, they’re only testing sessions and there’s not much point in getting too excited. I put new tyres on at the end of the session and we need to keep on pushing in qualifying. It’s wide open, for the time being at least.”

WSR