Tech 1 Racing crowned for the third time in Monaco! Daniel Ricciardo scored his first victory of the season in the Renault 3.5 Series in the streets of Monaco in one of the supporting races of the most prestigious F1 Grand Prix of the season.
Tech 1 Racing crowned for the third time in Monaco!
Daniel Ricciardo scored his first victory of the season in the Renault 3.5 Series in the streets of Monaco in one of the supporting races of the most prestigious F1 Grand Prix of the season. After Alvaro Parente in 2007, Charles Pic in 2008 and Daniel Ricciardo in 2010, it is the third time that Tech 1 Racing has won in the Principality. Brendon Hartley rounded off Sarah and Simon Abadie's team's great day with a super fourth place after a stunning drive.
Monaco has always been a unique circuit and a special weekend for the Renault 3.5 Series. The slightest mistake between the rails is usually fatal, but victory there has a huge impact under the eyes of all the people who count in F1 - and many others as well.
Brendon Hartley set the quickest lap in the race last year, and he arrived in Monaco with the advnatge of knowing the circuit, while it was Ricciardo's first time out on the track. The aim of the single free session was simple - the drivers had to cover as many laps as possible. "We know this circuit well and we know the setups which work here," explained Simon Abadie. "On Thursday morning, we're always the first out when there's no grip on the track. The drivers have to rack up as many laps as possible to gain confidence and master this layout without going for a time. Our engineers then know what they have to do to find the best setup." Brendon was ninth with Daniel eleventh-quickest.
On Saturday morning, qualifying was one of the key moments of the weekend. The twenty-four cars were divided up into two groups of twelve. Hartley was in the first group and finished fourth putting him on the fourth row.
Ricciardo was in the second group. The battle was tough and the outcome was decided in the closing seconds. The Australian put in a final flyer and bagged pole, his third of the season. There were two Australians in cars in Red Bull colours powered by Renault engines on pole in Monaco: Daniel Ricciardo in Formula Renault 3.5 and Mark Webber in F1. "Daniel did a great job in qualifying. He did what he had to do when he had to do it," analysed Abadie. "Over the radio I asked him to go for it, to push to the maximum as he was a little too careful. It was great to see and the result was well worth it. Pole position is a big advantage here. Things didn't go off quite so well for Brendon; he had what it took to do better."
On Sunday, in glorious sunlight in front of a huge crowd and under the watchful eye of the F1 world, Ricciardo took up first place on the grid. When the lights went out, he made the best start and pushed really hard in the early laps to open up a gap. During the rest of the race, he concentrated on keeping those few seconds' lead while avoiding all the usual Monaco traps. He scored a flag-to-flag victory winning his first Formula Renault 3.5 Series race on the most prestigious of circuits.
Hartley set off from eighth place on the grid and drove a stunning race as everybody acknowledged. On a circuit where overtaking is very tricky, the New Zealander passed no fewer than four cars, the last on the final lap of the race to take fourth.
Thanks to this victory and Hartley's fourth place, Tech 1 Racing is back in the lead in the teams' championship, while the Australian is now second in the drivers' ratings seven points behind the leader.
"It's the kind of weekend I'd like to have more often," laughed Abadie. "We were feeling pretty optimistic after qualifying. Daniel did the job; he was perfect in qualifying, made a faultless start and drove a brilliant race. It's a great victory that's important for him and for us. It's always special to win here. Bravo Daniel, he gave us a thrilling time. Hats off too to the whole team; everybody was perfect.
But you can't forget Brendon either. He again proved his qualities today by overtaking cars in places where you didn't think it was possible. It's a real pity that he didn't have a good qualifying session. We're going to work on this aspect with him as it's by qualifying well that he'll win races. We have to continue like this to win both titles," summed up Simon.
The next round of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series will be at Brno at the beginning of June.
-source: tech 1 racing