Roberto Merhi won his third Formula Renault 3.5 Series race of the season in commanding fashion as he won a wet opening race at the Hungaroring by almost half a minute.
The Zeta Corse driver made a good start from seventh on the grid to run second behind Oliver Rowland, but once ahead of the Fortec Motorsports driver, he was by far the fastest driver on track, and steadily pulled a healthy gap at the front.
Rowland ran second until the final lap, but was beaten in a sprint to the finish line by Pierre Gasly of Arden Motorsport, who had closed down a big gap to Rowland as the track began to dry.
Carlos Sainz Jr recovered from a disappointing qualifying session to finish fourth, the DAMS driver minimising the potential loss of points to the three drivers immediately behind the championship leader – Merhi, Gasly and Rowland. The Spaniard had made eight places on the opening lap, moving from fourteenth to sixth.
Matthieu Vaxiviere claimed fifth for Lotus ahead of Strakka Racing’s Will Stevens, while Marco Sorensen of Tech 1 Racing beat Norman Nato of DAMS to seventh.
Esteban Ocon scored points on debut for Comtec Racing, but not before the stewards investigated by the Frenchman for an on-track clash with ISR Racing’s Jazeman Jaafar who finished tenth; the stewards felt that no action was necessary.
Sainz now leads the championship from Merhi by 26 points, with Gasly third a further 22 points back.
Hungaroring Race 1 Result
|1||Roberto Merhi||ESP||Zeta Corse||42m28.622s|
|2||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Arden Motorsport||+29.156s|
|3||Oliver Rowland||GBR||Fortec Motorsports||+29.412s|
|4||Carlos Sainz Jr||ESP||DAMS||+33.993s|
|6||Will Stevens||GBR||Strakka Racing||+1m03.230s|
|7||Marco Sorensen||DEN||Tech 1 Racing||+1m10.670s|
|9||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Comtec Racing||+1m18.206s|
|11||Luca Ghiotto||ITA||International Draco Racing||+1m22.959s|
|12||Oscar Tunjo||COL||Pons Racing||+1m23.797s|
|13||Roman Mavlanov||RUS||Zeta Corse||+1m25.901s|
|14||Sergey Sirotkin||RUS||Fortec Motorsports||+1m27.049s|
|16||Meindert van Buuren||NED||Pons Racing||+1m41.881s|
|17||Beitske Visser||NED||AV Formula||+1m49.193s|
|18||Cameron Twynham||GBR||Comtec Racing||+1 Lap|
|19||William Buller||GBR||Arden Motorsport||+1 Lap|
|RET||Zoel Amberg||SWI||AV Formula||17 Laps|
|RET||Pietro Fantin||BRZ||International Draco Racing||4 Laps|
|RET||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Tech 1 Racing||3 Laps|
|RET||Matias Lainé||FIN||Strakka Racing||3 Laps|