Binder beats Fittipaldi in V8 3.5 swansong
18 November 2017 – René Binder fended off team-mate and 2017 champion Pietro Fittipaldi to triumph in the last-ever Formula V8 3.5 Series race in Bahrain.
Lotus pair Binder and Fittipaldi held 1-2 throughout in hot conditions at the Sakhir Circuit, with the result clinching the Teams' title for the Charouz-run operation.
Fittipaldi closely trailed Binder early on and made his compulsory stop one lap before the Austrian, with the experienced F2/GP2 racer duly emerging from his service narrowly in front.
Binder kept Fittipaldi at bay across the next sequence of corners and ultimately pulled clear during the closing stages to win the last race in the 20-year history of the championship.
RP Motorsport debutant Tatiana Calderón gapped team-mate Roy Nissany late on to record a podium finish, as several other drivers encountered setbacks.
Race 1 victor Henrique Chaves was delayed after he was hit and spun at Turn 1 by Alfonso Celis Jr., with the latter penalised for making his pit stop out of the window.
Diego Menchaca and Yu Kanamaru had contested third position but both were penalised after transgressing during their battle.
Kanamaru forced Menchaca off the circuit on the run between Turns 3 and 4, where double waved yellow flags were being displayed as marshals recovered Konstantin Tereschenko's stranded car.
Menchaca completed the move but was duly handed a drive-through penalty for doing so under yellows, while Kanamaru was similarly penalised for forcing his rival off.
Chaves ultimately emerged least unscathed from the respective incidents to register fifth, in front of Kanamaru, Menchaca and Celis Jr.
Matevos Isaakyan was the final classified runner in ninth place after stalling at the start.