Bottas dominates from start to finish Having started from pole position, Valtteri Bottas (Motopark Academy) kept his cool admirably, maintaining his lead for the duration of the race, to notch up his first race win in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0.
Bottas dominates from start to finish
Having started from pole position, Valtteri Bottas (Motopark Academy) kept his cool admirably, maintaining his lead for the duration of the race, to notch up his first race win in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0. In contrast, second-placed Andrea Caldarelli (SG Formula) had his work cut out from start to finish to hold off Roberto Merhi (Epsilon Euskadi), Daniel Ricciardo (SG Formula) and Mathieu Arzeno (Epsilon Sport).
After post-qualifying scrutineering, Dean Smith (Fortec Motorsport) saw all his times cancelled due to a non-compliant rear diffuser on his Formula Renault 2.0. He therefore started from the back of the grid.
From pole position, Valtteri Bottas got the best start, with Andrea Caldarelli and Roberto Merhi just behind him. Things went less smoothly for Jean-Eric Vergne (SG Formula), who crashed off, handing fourth place to his teammate Daniel Ricciardo in the process. Bottas was in front at the end of lap 1, ahead of Andrea Caldarelli, Roberto Mehri, Daniel Ricciardo and Michel Faccin (Jenzer Motorsport).
The Finnish driver then set about building an unassailable lead over the chasing pack, where his rivals were locked in a fierce battle for position. Andrea Caldarelli came under pressure from Merhi and Ricciardo, while Mathieu Arzeno (Epsilon Sport) won his tussle for fifth place with Michel Faccin.
With five laps gone, Bottas had extended his lead over Caldarelli, Merhi and Ricciardo to more than five seconds. Arzeno soon joined this chasing pack. None of the four drivers was giving an inch, each waiting for a mistake from their rivals.
The battle for seventh position was equally fierce, as Alex Morgan (Fortec Motorsport) did his best to hold off the rampant Albert Costa (Epsilon Euskadi) and Gabriel Dias (Fortec Motorsport).
Valtteri Bottas was quite simply in a different class. He wasn't troubled for a second on the way to his first Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 race win. The contest for the other podium places went right down to the wire, however. In the end, Andrea Caldarelli held on to second place despite incessant pressure from the men on his tail. Daniel Ricciardo's sustained push on the final lap would ultimately come to nothing, meaning Roberto Merhi also maintained his third place. Ricciardo does, however, have the consolation of first place in the Championship standings, ahead of Andrea Caldarelli.
Valtteri Bottas: I've been the quickest driver all weekend. This win is just reward for the work done by the whole of the Motopark team. We will be looking to keep on improving and pick up another win tomorrow."
Andrea Caldarelli: Valtteri was too quick today and I soon realised I'd have to settle for second. It's a pleasing result after a difficult start to the weekend. The championship is still wide open.
Roberto Mehri: I've been desperate to get my first podium finish in the Eurocup! Andrea drove a great race and I couldn't find a way past him. And Daniel Ricciardo kept up the pressure right till the end.