Nasr triumphs in opening Paul Ricard race
|2.||A. Felix da Costa||+1.295|
16 July 2011 – Carlin’s Felipe Nasr took advantage of a slow getaway from team-mate and pole-sitter Kevin Magnussen to grab victory at Paul Ricard this afternoon, ultimately taking the chequered flag ahead of Hitech driver António Félix da Costa. Carlos Huertas ensured two Carlin drivers made the podium, while Magnussen limited the damage in fourth.
As the lights went amid glorious sunshine at 3pm local time, Nasr launched off the line to steal the lead from Magnussen who bogged down significantly from the front of the grid. The extent of the Dane's troubles were realised as the cars stormed back past the start/finish straight to start the second lap, with the McLaren protégé dropping all the way down to seventh.
Over the next few tours, Nasr continuously pumped in quick times to build up a gap of almost one second to Félix da Costa behind, with the two men pulling away fairly comfortably at the front. The Portuguese driver was giving it his all to get close enough to challenge for the lead, but Nasr had enough in hand to respond when needed.
Magnussen’s fight back came at the expense of British drivers Jack Harvey and Rupert Svendsen-Cook early on, before making contact with Fortec’s Lucas Foresti while attempting to pass. The pair continued without any ongoing issues, but Foresti slipped back to seventh as a direct result of the clash, losing out on what may have been a significant haul of points.
Nasr went on to record a lights to flag victory, fending off his rivals behind and moving even further clear at the top of the championship standings. Behind fourth place man Magnussen, Harvey recorded another strong finish in front of Svendsen-Cook and Will Buller, while Jazeman Jaafar, Foresti and Harry Tincknell rounded out the top ten.
Sunday's Race 2 begins at 10am local time (BST +1)