Nato beats Merhi to take Hungaroring Race 2 Win


Norman Nato took his second Formula Renault 3.5 Series victory of the season after making a brilliant start to jump from third to first on the first lap, and then proceeded to hold off the challenge of Roberto Merhi for the duration of the race in Hungary.

The Frenchman, driving for DAMS, even had to battle through a safety car period, caused by a first lap crash between Sergey Sirotkin, Nicholas Latifi, William Buller and Oscar Tunjo that saw the latter’s car being flipped upside down. Luckily for everyone involved, they were able to walk away unscathed.

Merhi’s runners-up spot for Zeta Corse meant he has closed the gap at the top of the championship to Carlos Sainz Jr to only 16 points with only four races of the season to go. His best opportunity of taking over the lead from Nato was after the safety car restart, but the DAMS driver withstood the challenge around the outside of turns one and two.

Pierre Gasly took his second podium finish of the weekend with third for Arden Motorsport, and closed the gap on the leaders over the final number of laps like he had done in race one, but was unable to make a move on Merhi despite a mistake a few laps from the end when the Spaniard cut the chicane.

Oliver Rowland was a distant fourth for Fortec Motorsports, and was forced to hold off the challenge of Meindert van Buuren of Pons Racing, who had his best race of the season by far in fifth.

Sainz Jr was sixth but was unable to get close to van Buuren ahead of him, and in the closing laps was forced instead to concentrate on holding off the Lotus of Matthieu Vaxiviere, who had made a later pit stop.

Jazeman Jaafar took eighth for ISR Racing ahead of Marco Sorensen of Tech 1 Racing, while Will Stevens had a quiet race for Strakka Racing and finished down in tenth.

Esteban Ocon failed to start due to the damage caused in his heavy qualifying crash, but will be back in the Comtec Racing car for the next event at Paul Ricard in two weeks time.

Hungaroring Race 2 Result

POS DRIVER NAT TEAM TIME/Laps
1 Norman Nato FRA DAMS 42m35.846s
2 Roberto Merhi ESP Zeta Corse +0.424s
3 Pierre Gasly FRA Arden Motorsport +2.819s
4 Oliver Rowland GBR Fortec Motorsports +12.539s
5 Meindert van Buuren NED Pons Racing +14.193s
6 Carlos Sainz Jr ESP DAMS +16.114s
7 Matthieu Vaxiviere FRA Lotus +17.077s
8 Jazeman Jaafar MAL ISR +21.889s
9 Marco Sorensen DEN Tech 1 Racing +22.937s
10 Will Stevens GBR Strakka Racing +23.826s
11 Pietro Fantin BRZ International Draco Racing +24.877s
12 Beitske Visser NED AV Formula +28.338s
13 Matias Lainé FIN Strakka Racing +29.576s
14 Marlon Stockinger PHI Lotus +30.002s
15 Zoel Amberg SWI AV Formula +30.563s
16 Roman Mavlanov RUS Zeta Corse +38.888s
17 Cameron Twynham GBR Comtec Racing +38.957s
18 Nicholas Latifi CAN Tech 1 Racing +40.923s
19 Luca Ghiotto ITA International Draco Racing +43.279s
RET Sergey Sirotkin RUS Fortec Motorsports 1 Lap
RET Oscar Tunjo COL Pons Racing 0 Laps
RET William Buller GBR Arden Motorsport 0 Laps
DNS Esteban Ocon FRA Comtec Racing 0 Laps