Stevens and Sainz claim first 2014 wins
Briton Will Stevens (Strakka Racing) claimed the first 2014 win of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series at Monza. The Caterham Racing Academy‘s driver was joined on the podium by the two newcomers Roberto Merhi (Zeta Corse) and the reigning Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Champion Pierre Gasly (Arden Motorsport).
After dominating Friday free-practice, Carlos Sainz (DAMS) took the first pole. The Spaniard set the quickest time of 1:33.235 four minutes from the end of the shortened session due to the spin of Zoël Amberg (AVF). William Buller (Arden Motorsport) was second, followed by impressive rookie Luca Ghiotto (International Draco Racing), while Stevens and Merhi finished fourth and fifth respectively.
Sainz got stuck on the starting grid as did Matthieu Vaxivière (Lotus). Buller and Ghiotto both had sub-par starts, allowing Stevens to move into the lead ahead of Merhi and Gasly. At the end of the opening lap, an huge accident involving Jazeman Jaafar (ISR) and Marco Sørensen (Tech 1 Racing) – whose car flipped over in the main straight – brought out the safety car. The race went back to green on lap five. Stevens maintained his lead and continued to add to his advantage, taking a comfortable win.
On Sunday, Sainz took his first win in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series after dominating also the Q2. The Red Bull Junior Team driver finished ahead of Marlon Stöckinger (Lotus) and Sergey Sirotkin (Fortec Motorsports).
When the lights went out, Sainz took the lead progressively increasing his gap from Stöckinger and Sirotkin. Gasly and Jaafar battled for fifth place; eventually Frenchmen ended behind Ghiotto (fourth).