Two at the top as title race hots up Having started from pole position, Valtteri Bottas (Motopark Academy) led from start to finish as he picked up his third race win of the season. He was followed by the perennial bridesmaid of Eurocup Formula...
Two at the top as title race hots up
Having started from pole position, Valtteri Bottas (Motopark Academy) led from start to finish as he picked up his third race win of the season. He was followed by the perennial bridesmaid of Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, Andrea Caldarelli (SG Formula), who took second place for the sixth time this year, and drew level on points with his teammate Daniel Ricciardo at the top of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 standings.
The track was dry and the stands full at the Bugatti circuit as Valtteri Bottas lined up in pole position, ahead of Andrea Caldarelli, Daniel Ricciardo (SG Formula) and Albert Costa. With Ramez Azzam (SG Formula) forced to withdraw after his car was damaged yesterday, his place on the grid was taken by Marcelo Conchado (Amiter Galuppo Sport).
Valtteri Bottas got a perfect start, hitting the first bend in the lead, followed by Andrea Caldarelli, Roberto Merhi and Albert Costa. Daniel Ricciardo had a less successful time of things, dropping back from third place to sixth, just behind Jean-Eric Vergne, who, unlike his teammate, had a good opening lap, climbing to fifth place from tenth on the grid.
Bottas worked hard to extend his lead over Caldarelli in the first few laps. Behind the front two, Merhi and Costa were battling it out for the remaining podium place. The tussle for fifth spot between Jean-Eric Vergne, Daniel Ricciardo and Mathieu Arzeno was just as interesting.
Tobias Hegewald (Motopark Academy) moved up one place from tenth to ninth, overtaking Alexander Sims (SG Formula) on lap 7, and then closed in rapidly on eighth-placed driver Cesar Ramos (BVM Minardi Team). The battle for eighth became a battle for seventh when Mathieu Arzeno was forced to cut his race short due to engine trouble.
With ten minutes to go, Roberto Merhi stepped up the pace, pulling away from Albert Costa and closing in on second-placed Andrea Caldarelli, but the Spaniard could not find a way past before the chequered flag.
Valtteri Bottas thus picks up his third race win of the season, with Andrea Caldarelli yet again finishing second. The Italian driver can be satisfied with his result, however, as he now stands level on points with Daniel Ricciardo in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 overall standings. Ricciardo could only finish sixth today. The joint leaders are just seven points clear of Bottas and nine ahead of Merhi.
Valtteri Bottas: "I got off to a great start, found a good rhythm and opened up a gap. Then I stayed focused until the end, trying not to make mistakes. I really needed this win. Two weeks ago I was 37 points adrift, now there are only seven points between the leader and me. It's going to be an exciting end to the season."
Andrea Caldarelli: "Another second place, but I'm happy with this result, as it brings me level with Daniel Ricciardo. I've scored big points again this weekend, now I need to win some races!"
Roberto Merhi: "I wasn't as quick as the others at the start. They nearly all started today's race on new tyres, whereas I opted to do that yesterday. I came back at Andrea, but was never in a position to get past him. Estoril and Barcelona will be very interesting. With nine points separating the four of us, there's all to play for."