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Silverstone: Series race 1 report

Jean-Éric Vergne handed victory on a platter As a result of the disqualification of Esteban Guerrieri (ISR) for a technical infringement, Jean-Éric Vergne (Tech 1 Racing) takes his first win in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series at the...

Jean-Éric Vergne handed victory on a platter

As a result of the disqualification of Esteban Guerrieri (ISR) for a technical infringement, Jean-Éric Vergne (Tech 1 Racing) takes his first win in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series at the Silverstone circuit, the very place where he took the British F3 International Series title just a few weeks ago. The other podium places go to Albert Costa (Epsilon Euskadi) and Stefano Comini (Comtec Racing). Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin) takes advantage of the retirement of Daniel Ricciardo (Tech 1 Racing) to extend his lead in the Drivers' Championship.

In front of his home crowd, Jon Lancaster (Fortec Motorsport) was flawless in qualifying, using the light aerodynamic configuration to secure his first pole position of the season in Formula Renault 3.5 Series. Starting from second and third respectively, Esteban Guerrieri and Daniel Ricciardo were also there to show they meant business, whilst the leader of the Drivers' Championship, Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin), languished back in tenth on the start grid. As a result of an altercation with Igor Salaquarda after qualifying, Daniel Zampieri (Pons Racing) was excluded from this first race, while Igor Salaquarda has been banned from the Silverstone circuit for the entire week-end.

From the start, Jon Lancaster was not as quick to react as Esteban Guerrieri. The Fortec Motorsport driver tried to hold off the man from ISR, but was forced to swerve left to avoid the Argentine, losing control of his car as a result. Jon Lancaster then ran into Daniel Ricciardo whose car was thrown into a roll as a result of a violent side impact. The Australian was unharmed but forced to retire from the race. Esteban Guerrieri took advantage of the incident to assume control at the front of the race ahead of Jean-Éric Vergne, Nathanaël Berthon (International Draco Racing), Albert Costa and Brendon Hartley (P1 Motorsport).

Though Jean-Éric Vergne was constantly gaining ground on Esteban Guerrieri, he was not able to attack the Argentine in any way. The same situation applied to the battle for third between Nathanaël Berthon and Albert Costa. The Spaniard however had the bit between his teeth and tried to force an error from Nathanaël Berthon by varying his trajectories through the bends. Albert Costa finally found a way through on lap 11 to move up into third, after a battle that was hard fought, but fair. Nathanaël Berthon was however forced to come into the pits after a coming-together with Brendon Hartley. Both drivers abandoned the race as a result.

Esteban Guerrieri and Jean-Éric Vergne were now leading the race ahead of Albert Costa, Nelson Panciatici (Junior Lotus Racing) and Stefano Coletti (Comtec Racing). In sixth, Filip Salaquarda (ISR) was busy trying to hold off Mikhail Aleshin, who had made it up into 7th spot. The Carlin driver also had to keep an eye on the intentions of his countryman Anton Nebylitskiy (KMP Racing), who was piling on the pressure towards the close of the race. But when the change came it was Stefano Coletti who passed Nelson Panciatici to move up into fourth place.

There was no change in the leading position from this stage on, with Esteban Guerrieri believing he was going to take his fifth win of the season. But, after the race was over, Esteban Guerrieri was disqualified for a technical infringement, as result of a complaint lodged by another competitor. Consequently, Jean-Éric Vergne, the newly-crowned 2010 British F3 International Series Champion, takes his maiden victory in Formula Renault 3.5 Series ahead of Albert Costa and Stefano Comini. Finally finishing in sixth place, Mikhail Aleshin further extends his lead in the championship and now finds himself 16 points clear of Daniel Ricciardo.

Quotes: (statements made prior to the disqualification of Esteban Guerrieri):

Jean-Éric Vergne: "I took the title here in F3 and it's a circuit I like a lot, so after a difficult weekend in Hockenheim, I'm happy to be rewarded with this result today. Things kind of went my way at the start, as I was on the right side, unlike Daniel. I tried everything, but Esteban is more experienced than me, and he didn't make any mistakes."

Albert Costa: "We have put in an enormous amount of work to get things right. We're now heading in the right direction and this podium comes at a good time for me. Tomorrow there's another qualifying session and another race, so I'll be looking for a good result and I have to win another race before the end of the year. If I could do it at home in Barcelona, that would be just perfect--"

-source: renault

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