Esteban Guerrieri makes up ground After a spectacular end to his race, ISR's Esteban Guerrieri clawed back some of the ground he lost yesterday, claiming yet another win, this time in front of 125 000 spectators. Second, Tech 1 Racing's Daniel...
Esteban Guerrieri makes up ground
After a spectacular end to his race, ISR's Esteban Guerrieri clawed back some of the ground he lost yesterday, claiming yet another win, this time in front of 125 000 spectators. Second, Tech 1 Racing's Daniel Ricciardo brought himself within three chmpionship points of Carlin's Mikhail Aleshin today at the end of a chaotic race. The podium was completed by Tech 1 Racing's Jean-Éric Vergne, placing Tech 1 Racing almost beyond the reach of the competition for a third Teams championship in Formula Renault 3.5 Series.
Daniel Ricciardo's mechanics worked until five o'clock this morning to rebuild his car following the accident that befell him at the start of Saturday's race. The Australian showed his recognition by pulling out all the stops in qualifying, claiming his seventh pole position of the season. Second fastest in qualifying, Fortec Motorsport's Jon Lancaster was forced to start from the pits after being handed a penalty for dangerous driving at the start of the first race. Consequently, Ricciardo lined up in pole position ahead of P1 Motorsport's Brendon Hartley, Jean-Éric Vergne, Esteban Guerrieri and Carlin's Mikhail Aleshin.
Daniel Ricciardo made a perfect start, to lead the race with Brendon Hartley his second. Esteban Guerrieri took third place and immediately set about the New-Zealander's rear wing. In a textbook maneuver, Guerrieri snuck into second, while Brendon Hartley slid back down the pack, finding himself locked in a scrap with Mikhail Aleshin. The two drivers collided and Hartley was relegated to sixth place, while Aleshin dropped like a stone to 23rd.
Daniel Ricciardo completed a difficult first lap in the lead, trailed by Esteban Guerrieri, Jean-Éric Vergne, ISR's Filip Salaquarda and KMP Racing's Anton Nebylitskiy. The two leaders set a sustained rhythm, beginning to break away from the pursuers, while in third, Vergne was kept busy by Filip Salaquarda.
Up until the mandatory pitstop and tyre-change, Ricciardo and Guerrieri steadily built on their lead. Brendon Hartley was the first of the frontrunners to pit while, in the chasing pack, Aleshin was doing all he could to get ahead. Nineteenth at the start of the pitstops, the Russian rejoined the race behind P1 Motorsport's Walter Grubmuller and KMP Racing's Victor Garcia. Over-hasty in his attempts to pass the Spaniard, Aleshin span his car, losing further precious seconds.
The positions remained unchanged at the end of the mandatory stops; Ricciardo maintaining a solid lead over of Guerrieri. Thanks to a successful strategy, the Vergne rejoined the race in third place, taking respite from Filip Salaquarda, fourth, himself more interested in holding off Nebilitskiy than making inroads into the Frenchman's third-place.
Guerrieri made an impressive comeback against Ricciardo, who was clearly struggling with his car, the Argentinian trying every trick in the book right up until the final lap. The two drivers took several corners neck-and-neck, Guerrieri finally managing to snatch the lead, along with his fifth win of the season. The championship is now as tight as ever in the run-up to Barcelona, with Mikhail Alehsin just three points ahead of Daniel Ricciardo. Third, Esteban Guerrieri has an impressive sixteen points to make up on the leader.
Esteban Guerrieri : "It's another win, another fifteen points, that's the only thing that matters to me today. We lost out big-time when we were disqualified yesterday. For me, the Drivers' championship doesn't matter any more, I just want to go out and win the remaining two races of the season. Right now I'm just pleased for my team and everyone who helped me."
Daniel Ricciardo : "Esteban really made a strong comeback at the end of the race, I held him off as best I could but he was quick. It would have been nice to pay my mechanics back with a win, so I'm a little disappointed. On the other hand, I've taken a few points out of Mikhail Aleshin's lead, so there's everything to play for in the run up to Barcelona."
Jean-Éric Vergne : "Every second I spend in the car I'm learning, and it's been a good weekend for me. I couldn't keep up with Daniel and Esteban, so I clearly still have a few things still to learn. I scored a lot of points this weekend, with one win and one podium. I need to do as well at Barcelona."