Müller dominates rain-affected race
14 September 2013 – Nico Müller claimed a commanding victory at a rain-soaked Hungaroring in the first race of the Formula Renault 3.5 weekend, finishing nearly half a minute clear of the field. Kevin Magnussen, who started from 16th position, strengthened his title lead in second, with Sauber protege Sergey Sirotkin completing the podium.
Similar conditions to this morning's sodden qualifying session greeted the drivers on the grid, with large patches of standing water present across much of the circuit. As a result, the race began under the Safety Car, and organisers maintained regular contact with the field to determine when it would be safe to go racing.
Incidents began to occur even before the Safety Car pulled away, with Carlos Sainz Jr. capping a poor Saturday by stalling on the first lap. The Toro Rosso hopeful had already started at the tail-end after failing to record a time in qualifying after an off.
The eventual move to green flag racing led to the inevitable flurry of spins as drivers began to test the limits of grip. Jazeman Jaafar was the first to fall, followed by synchronised pirouetting between António Félix da Costa and Mikhail Aleshin. Although Aleshin managed to get his car going, his Arden Caterham rival was left stranded in the middle of the track, the Portuguese ultimately unable to continue.
Amid the treacherous conditions, it quickly became clear that car control rather than outright pace would be the key to victory, with pole-sitter André Negrão gifting Müller the lead after missing one of his braking points. Magnussen was another beneficiary, profiting from a 360 degree spin for Marlon Stöckinger to move into fifth. The Dane had already been impressively rising through the pack after starting in the midfield.
And Magnussen continued to shine, dispatching of Will Stevens, Negrão and Sirotkin to move into second with six minutes remaining, the current championship leader displaying supreme wet weather skills. Despite the charge, by this time Müller was too far into the distance to be threatened, and the Swiss driver demonstrated his penchant for tight and twisty circuits by claiming his first win since Monaco.
Sirotkin came home in third after a clean race, with Stoffel Vandoorne fourth. Aleshin wound up fifth ahead of Nigel Melker, while Sainz Jr. conducted a spirited recovery drive to claim seventh. Stevens, Matias Laine and Arthur Pic completed the top ten.
After lapping amongst the front-runners for much of the race, Negrão span into an eventual retirement on the final lap, having earlier allowed Sirotkin to take third.
Qualifying for the weekend's second race begins at 9.25am (GMT +2) on Sunday