Aleshin focused on Championship after F1 experience Carlin's Mikhail Aleshin today took the wheel of the Renault F1 R29 for the first time, but that did little to break his concentration on the Formula Renault 3.5 Series Championship. In wet...
Aleshin focused on Championship after F1 experience
Carlin's Mikhail Aleshin today took the wheel of the Renault F1 R29 for the first time, but that did little to break his concentration on the Formula Renault 3.5 Series Championship. In wet morning and dry afternoon sessions, the Russian beat Nathanael Berthon and Tech 1 Racing's Daniel Ricciardo to the top of the time sheet.
The first collective testing session took place on a wet track. The twenty-four Formula Renault 3.5 Series drivers initially went out on wet tyres. The times improved lap on lap, as gradually, the track began to dry. Daniel Ricciardo and Comtec Racing's Stefano Coletti were the first to take control of the session. With a time of 1'37"054, the man from Monaco set held top-spot ahead of the Australian, with Lotus Junior Racing's Nelson Panciatici third.
But leading up to the end of the session, Pons Racing's Daniel Zampieri, along with Mikhail Aleshin and Epsilon Euskadi's Albert Costa, was the first to pit and change to slick tyres. It took Mikhail Aleshin and Albert Costa a few laps to gain control of the session. The Russian was the first to improve on Coletti's time, before Costa leap-frogged him on the time sheet with a 1'36"136 lap. But Aleshin put in a few solid laps, setting a time to beat of 1'32"942 for the first session.
The other drivers did the logical thing and followed suit, coming in to put on slicks. The leaderboard was in a constant state of flux in the last few minutes, until Comtec Racing's Greg Mansell span his car at the Château d'Eau corner, which put paid to the session with a red flag. With a time to beat of 1'32"564, Daniel Zampieri finished the first collective testing session in the lead, followed by Ricciardo, Costa, Aleshin and Fortec Motorsport's Jon Lancaster.
The sky overhead was looking angry as the lights changed for the start of the second session. Nelson Panciatici immediately went all-out at the stopwatch, putting himself in second place ahead of Aleshin and Carlin's Jake Rosenzweig with a lap of 1'29"317. But at that moment a passing shower decided to pay a visit to Magny-Cours and all the drivers headed for the pits.
With the track drying rapidly, Mikhail Aleshin launched the first wave of improvements to dislodge Nelson Panciatici from his position with a time of 1'28"657. Next it was the turn of Albert Costa to set a provisional fastest lap, before Nathanael Berthon installed himself at the top of the time sheet for the bulk of the session. Nevertheless, it was the end of the session which would prove decisive as, with fresh tyres, the final assault of the day took place. Nathanael Berthon bolstered his lead with a time of 1'27"820, but Mikhail Aleshin beet him on the line. Having driven a Renault F1 R29 for the first time that morning, the Russian turned in the best performance of the day with a 1'27"475 flying lap, followed by Nathanel Berthon and Daniel Ricciardo.
Mikhail Aleshin : "As always, we worked really hard. We were on the pace, but we can't rely to heavily on our result this evening. The experience of driving the F1 is very different to the FR 3.5 Series. But my main objective this weekend is the FR 3.5 Series. I'm 100% focused on what I need to do!"
Nathanael Berthon : "The car is quick. We've put in a lot of work, and I've tried a few different setups, both in light aerodynamic and normal configurations. Now I need to take a good hard look at all the data with my engineers in order to do my best in qualifying tomorrow!"
Daniel Ricciardo : "This morning wasn't perfect, nor was this afternoon; the weather made our job a bit difficult. As a result, we didn't drive many laps. We drove our fast laps on old tyres, so that's very encouraging. The championship leaderboard is very tight, so we need a big weekend to make a difference."