Formula Renault 3.5 Series drivers did what they could to stop Stoffel Vandoorne from earning back-to-back wins at the Moscow Raceway, but in the end, he leaves Russia with two wins!
Stoffel Vandoorne (Fortec Motorsports) followed Saturday's pole position and race win with another clean sweep today at Moscow Raceway. The Belgian took victory in race two ahead of Kevin Magnussen (DAMS) and Will Stevens (P1 by Strakka Racing), a result that sends him above Magnussen to the top of the championship.
On Sunday morning, under menacing skies, Stoffel Vandoorne claimed pole position with a time of 1:20.025. The Belgian gave a similar performance to the one he produced yesterday, and qualified ahead of Will Stevens and Kevin Magnussen at the end of a session that was twice interrupted by the reg flag.
Vandoorne protected his lead at the start of the race, while Kevin Magnussen passed Will Stevens into second. It was a frenetic opening few laps, with action and incident throughout the field. Antonio Félix da Costa (Arden Caterham) had to stop for a replacement nose section, while Brazil’s Yann Cunha (AV Formula) was forced to retire after contact with Mihai Marinescu (Zeta Corse).
Nikolay Martsenko (Pons Racing) and Mikhail Aleshin were first to make their mandatory pitstops. Stoffel Vandoorne, meanwhile, stretched his lead over Kevin Magnussen by the lap. Magnussen made his stop on lap 14, one before his Belgian rival. The front pair’s positions remained unchanged, but the pack behind them continued to shuffle apace, with several drivers using DRS to overtake.
It was Stoffel Vandoorne, eventually, who took the chequered flag, crossing the line ten seconds ahead of Kevin Magnussen and Will Stevens. Nico Müller (International Draco Racing) finished fourth, followed by Mikhail Aleshin, the best-placed Russian driver. André Negrão (International Draco Racing), Oliver Webb (Fortec Motorsports), Pietro Fantin (Arden Caterham), Norman Nato (DAMS) and Sergey Sirotkin (ISR) also finished in the points after an eventful final lap.
What they said
Stoffel Vandoorne: "It’s been a perfect weekend for us. It couldn’t have gone any better. The race wasn’t as easy as it perhaps appeared. I had to push hard on every lap to build my lead and ensure a flawless pitstop. The championship is very tight. It’s almost as if we’re starting the season again from scratch."
Kevin Magnussen: "It wasn’t the best weekend we could have had. Our performance wasn’t good enough to beat Stoffel. We had hoped for better, but we’re still in the hunt for the title. We’ll be aiming for the best weekend possible in Austria."
Will Stevens: "We had a problem in qualifying, but we managed to secure second place on the grid. I didn’t make a good start to the race. Towards the end, we made up ground on Kevin but he was too far ahead. Still, these are important points for us in terms of the championship."