Vergne wins Paul Ricard opener
17 September 2011 – Jean-Eric Vergne cut the gap to current championship leader Robert Wickens by claiming victory during this afternoon's opening race at Paul Ricard, crossing the line just over a second ahead of Spain's Albert Costa. Wickens completed the podium to limit the damage, but his title advantage has now been trimmed to just 14 points.
Vergne bolted away from his pole position grid spot to lead every lap of the race, holding off Costa for a full 25 laps. Despite consistent pressure from the Epic Racing pilot, Vergne was able to hold his nerve and earn victory number five of the season. Wickens and Brendon Hartley enjoyed one of the closest battles during what was a rather dull afternoon overtaking wise, but the latter ultimately had to settle for fourth.
HRT F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo finished a lonely fifth for the ISR squad, crossing the line a few seconds ahead of Jake Rosenzweig and Sergio Canamasas. Daniil Move and César Ramos were the next to take the chequered flag in eighth and ninth respectively, with Tech 1 driver Kevin Korjus rounding out the top ten runners.
Costa disqualified, Ricciardo penalised
Sunday's Qualifying 2 begins at 9.50am local time (BST +1)