Sainz Jr. eases to FR3.5 win at Nürburgring
|1.||C. Sainz Jr.||42:17.052|
12 July 2014 – Red Bull youngster Carlos Sainz Jr. claimed his fifth victory of the season to extend his championship lead during the first Formula Renault 3.5 race of the weekend at the Nürburgring.
Sainz Jr., who could be racing in Formula 1 by the end of the year, was never headed as the DAMS driver led from start to finish at a damp and gloomy circuit.
The pole-sitter retained the lead into the first corner while behind, fellow front row starter Oliver Rowland had to fend off the advances of Roberto Merhi, who had leapt ahead of Rowland's Fortec team-mate, Sergey Sirotkin. The Russian slipped to fifth, but clawed back a position on Marlon Stöckinger a few corners in.
Sainz Jr. briefly came under pressure from Rowland but pumped in a sequence of fastest laps to pull away from his rival as a brief shower subsided.
Rowland held a comfortable second but slowed on the penultimate lap and had to allow Merhi and Sirotkin through. Further rain on the final lap caused worries for a few drivers but Sainz Jr. tip-toed his way around the last sector to take the win, ahead of Merhi, Sirotkin and the ailing Rowland.
The demise of Rowland was more good news for Sainz Jr., who extended his already healthy lead in the championship.
Stöckinger had a lonely run to fifth, ahead of Matias Laine and Pietro Fantin. Oscar Tunjo was eighth, while Zoël Amberg and Marco Sørensen rounded out the points-paying positions.
Will Buller and Luca Ghiotto were both unable to complete the race after stopping on track, while one of Sainz Jr.'s nearest title rivals, Pierre Gasly, endured a difficult day as he qualified only 17th and collided with Roman Mavlanov at Turn 2, causing both to spin.
The second race from the Nürburgring takes place on Sunday at 12:35 local time (GMT +2)