First blood to Daniel Ricciardo Daniel Ricciardo (SG Formula) won the first Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 race of the season ahead of teammate Andrea Caldarelli (SG Formula). The two SG Formula drivers had a clear-cut race, unlike the drivers ...
First blood to Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo (SG Formula) won the first Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 race of the season ahead of teammate Andrea Caldarelli (SG Formula). The two SG Formula drivers had a clear-cut race, unlike the drivers battling for the last place on the podium. Valtteri Bottas (Motorpark Academy) finished the race to claim third place.
The 48 competitiors in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 lined up for the first starting grid of the season. Valtteri Bottas got off to the best start ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Andrea Caldarelli.
In the compact group that followed, some drivers ran wide, but everything went smoothly for the first lap. Before the end of the first lap, Daniel Ricciardo took control. He finished the first lap in the lead ahead of Valtteri Bottas, Andrea Caldarelli, Albert Costa (Epsilon Euskadi), Michele Faccin (Jenzer Motorsport), Jean-Eric Vergne (SG Drivers Project), Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (BVM Minardi Team), Cesar Ramos (BVM Minardi Team), Daniel Zampieri (BVM MInardi Team) and Mathieu Arzeno (Epsilon Sport). Roberto Merhi (Epsilon Euskadi), who started fourth on the grid, lost several places at the start, running in twelfth place at the end of the first lap.
The SG Formula drivers were on form, Andrea Caldarelli driving on Bottas' tail. Italian took advantage of the Finn on the time through the hairpin. Albert Costa tried to take the opportunity. The Spaniard drew level with the Finn who countered well and held onto his position . Costa overtook a little further on but Bottas regained his position at the Raidillon de l'Eau Rouge as the two guys climbed the hill side-by-side.
Behind them, fifth place was being disputed by Faccin, Vergne and Quaiffe Hobbs. Jean-Eric Vergne came out on top of this chasing group which gradually gained on Bottas and Costa, in a ferocious fight for third place on the podium.
Ahead, things were improving steadily for Daniel Ricciardo and Andrea Caldarelli who were taking things easy. Meanwhile, Albert Costa got the better of Valtteri Bottas at the end of the fifth lap. Bottas now had Faccin, Zampieri, Ramos and Arzeno to hold off, while Vergne made a mistake and fell back to tenth position.
The pursuit group is always this lively. Bottas took the bull by the horns, gaining on Costa and passing him, as Zampieri dislodged Faccin from sixth place. Costa moved into the lead at the chicane. The battle, hard fought but fair, benefitted Zampieri who had apparently decided to join the fight for the podium. By now eight drivers were competing for third place, as Roberto Merhi and Jean-Eric Vergne in ninth and tenth places were gaining ground.
Five minutes before the chequered flag, Albert Costa, who appeared to be making a break for it, ran wide. Valtteri Bottas reaped the rewards, making up ground to pass him a few turns further on. Albert Costa who appeared to be in trouble, now had Daniel Zampieri and Cesar Ramos to hold off.
Daniel Ricciardo took the lead in front of teammate Andrea Caldarelli in a race which was finally calm enough for the two SG Formula drivers. The scrap for the third podium place was not decided right up until the chequered flag. Valtteri Bottas finally managed to cross the finish-line in third ahead of Daniel Zampieri who overtook Albert Costa on the last lap.
Daniel Ricciardo: "It was an advantage to start from the front row. It's a good result. I started with a win, but I'll have to wait for tomorrow evening to enjoy it."
Andrea Caldarelli: "I'm happy with second place. After I overtook Valtteri, I pushed to catch Daniel up, but he was too far ahead."
Valtteri Bottas: "Our race settings weren't effective enough. The car became more competitive towards the end of the race. It was close with Costa. We are going to try to win tomorrow!"