Antonio Felix da Costa (Arden Caterham) ended his five-month winless run in Budapest on Sunday. Having recorded his maiden Formula Renault 3.5 Series victory here last year, the Portuguese repeated the trick thanks to a perfect race strategy. Taking second behind him was Kevin Magnussen (DAMS), who increased his championship lead over Stoffel Vandoorne (Fortec Motorsports), third on the podium today.
Kevin Magnussen dominated the morning’s qualifying, clinching pole with a lap of 1:29.412 three minutes from the end of the session. The Dane was joined on the front row by Antonio Felix da Costa, with Stoffel Vandoorne, Marco Sorensen (Lotus) and Arthur Pic (AV Formula) occupying the next places on the grid.
Kevin Magnussen led from the lights, while Stoffel Vandoorne made the most of Antonio Felix da Costa’s slow start to take second. Arthur Pic held on to fourth, with Marco Sorensen slipping all the way down to tenth. Will Stevens (P1 by Strakka Racing) then went off on lap two, prompting the appearance of the safety car, which led the cars round until lap six.
With the positions remaining unchanged, the race would be won and lost in the pits. Stoffel Vandoorne came in on lap 11, followed one lap later by Kevin Magnussen, the Dane hoping to maintain his narrow advantage. The two frontrunners were nevertheless trumped by Antonio Felix da Costa, who stayed out till lap 13 and emerged from the pit lane just in time to snatch the lead.
Antonio Felix da Costa pulled away in the final laps to secure his first win since Monza. The Portuguese was joined on the podium by Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne, with Nigel Melker (Tech 1 Racing) taking fourth from Nico Muller (International Draco Racing), yesterday’s winner in the rain.
Andre Negrao (International Draco Racing) and Marlon Stockinger (Lotus) finished sixth and seventh respectively, with Carlos Huertas (Carlin) eighth and Marco Sorensen (Lotus) and Oliver Webb (Fortec Motorsports) completing the top ten.
Antonio Felix da Costa: “Winning in Budapest is becoming a bit of a habit for me. I felt very optimistic yesterday and then I went and made a silly mistake. It’s great to see the team smiling again, and it’s a real relief to get this win. We’re back and we won in style with a perfect pit stop against two drivers who are making a name for themselves in motorsport.”
Kevin Magnussen: “I’m slightly disappointed I didn’t get the win today. I made a great start but I couldn’t open out a lead and then the safety car came out. Then I went and lost a bit of time in the pits. It wasn’t anything major but I wasn’t quite quick enough to come back out in the lead.”
Stoffel Vandoorne: “It’s been a pretty good weekend even if it didn’t quite go as expected. I wanted to get some points back from Kevin but the opposite happened. We pitted first but we missed out on the lead by just a few metres and it was hard to get past Kevin after that. The championship is still on.”
Provisional Formula Renault 3.5 Series standings: 1. K. Magnussen 199 points; 2. S. Vandoorne 163; 3. A. Da Costa 120; 4. N. Melker 120; 5. N. Muller 112.