Daniel Ricciardo from start to finish
Starting from pole position for the fifth time this year, Daniel Ricciardo (Tech 1 Racing) took his second win in Formula Renault 3.5 Series, having led the race from start to finish. The Australian driver catches up three points on Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin), second today. Sten Pentus (Fortec Motorsport) finished third, despite the incessant attacks of Brendon Hartley (Tech 1 Racing).
After collective testing, the ISR team took the decision to retire from the Budapest leg of the championship. Scrutineers had asked for the cars of Esteban Guerrieri and Filip Salaquarda to be presented for technical inspection before qualifying, because the chassis were damaged. Not having the technical means or the time needed to perform the work required, the Czech team preferred to retire in order not to jeopardize the safety of the drivers.
In the sweltering heat of Budapest (air temp. 31°C, track temp. 46°C), and in front of full-to-capacity grandstands, poleman Daniel Ricciardo lined up in first place on the grid for the fifth time this season, ahead of Mikhail Aleshin and Brendon Hartley . The Australian driver took command of the race, leading his Russian rival at the first turn. Sten Pentus made a successful getaway, ousting Brendon Hartley from 3rd place in the first metres of the race. Daniel Ricciardo completed his first lap ahead of Mikhail Aleshin, Sten Pentus, Brendon Hartley and Nelson Panciatici (Junior Lotus Racing). Things were more hectic in the peloton with the retirement of both International Draco Racing cars and Federico Leo (Pons Racing).
Daniel Ricciardo kept the pressure on to try to extend his lead in the early laps. But when Sergio Canamasas (FHV Interwetten.com) span his car, forcing the safety car to intervene, Ricciardo's efforts came to naught. At the restart, Mikhail Aleshin tried his luck, but Daniel Ricciardo held him at bay. Back in the peloton, Jan Charouz (P1 Motorsport) and Albert Costa (Epsilon Euskadi) moved up the field. Having started 16th on the grid, the Spaniard was up to eighth, behind the Czech driver in seventh. They even went 6th and 7th respectively, following a drive-through penalty imposed on Anton Nebylitskiy (KMP Racing) for non-compliance with the racing line.
The gap between Daniel Ricciardo and Mikhail Aleshin stabilized at around six seconds. Third place was still in the balance between Sten Pentus and Brendon Hartley. The New Zealander looked for the opening, but the Estonian stood his ground unperturbed. The duels were developing all through the field. Albert Costa overtook Jan Charouz to take 6th place, while Daniel Zampieri (Pons Racing), in eighth place, was having a tough time containing the onslaught of Victor Garcia (KMP Racing) and Greg Mansell (Comtec Racing) who had started 19th on grid. Mansell unfortunately ended his splendid comeback in the gravel after a collision with Victor Garcia.
After taking his first win in this discipline in Monaco, Daniel Ricciardo celebrated victory here for a second time after dominating the race from start to finish. He comes back to within six points and Mikhail Aleshin, who finished second today. Sten Pentus completed the podium, despite the best efforts of Brendon Hartley who attacked up to the last corner.
Daniel Ricciardo : "It was very hot, but having grown up in Australia certainly helped me today. Coming two days after my 21st birthday this is an important win. I had the support of my family who are here today. It is a great satisfaction to me to win again today, I needed to confirm."
Mikhail Aleshin : "I attacked Daniel at first, but I couldn't pass him. I was too cautious. Then he took off, he was faster. So I'm happy with second place today."
Sten Pentus : "Unlike Daniel, I come from Estonia, where it is much colder than in Australia ... so I really suffered from the heat today. It was a very difficult race, especially with Brendon Hartley pushing hard. He was quicker than me, but I did everything to hold onto my third place."