It was two very different Formula Renault 3.5 Series weekends for the two Arden Motorsport drivers in Hungary, with Red Bull-backed Pierre Gasly claiming two podiums, while William Buller struggled throughout, finishing last on Saturday before crashing out on Sunday.
Gasly qualified on the front row for Saturday’s race, but was cautious in the opening laps and dropped to third. He found his confidence later in the race to close the gap to Oliver Rowland before passing the Fortec Motorsports driver on the final lap on the dash to the line.
“It was a really good weekend,” said Gasly. “The pace was certainly there, we had the fastest lap in both races. The guys did a fantastic job and I really enjoyed driving, we just have to get qualifying right, put ourselves on pole and then we can win in Paul Ricard,”
For race two on Sunday, Gasly qualified seventh on the grid having missed out on an extra lap after the red flag, something that saw five drivers move ahead of him on the grid as the track dried out. He managed to claim his second podium of the weekend, and feels ready to claim that first win.
“Today’s qualifying was especially frustrating,” insisted Gasly. “It was drying towards the end and then there was a red flag as we all switched from wets to slicks. There was so little time left and most of us only got in two laps but just a few did three. I was also held up in my second lap, I really think with a clear third lap we could have been on pole.
“Anyway the race was great, I got through to third and really enjoyed it, the car was terrific. I also enjoyed Saturday’s wet race to second and it was a good weekend for the points, we just need to get our first win now,”
His team-mate Buller had another shocking weekend, with the Northern Irishman finishing a lapped nineteenth on Saturday after suffering an early puncture, and then retiring in an opening lap crash on Sunday. What was expected to be a breakthrough season for Buller has been anything but, with a best result of fourth place in Monza so far being the highlight. If he is not careful, his motorsport dream could end up being a nightmare.
“I had a decent start to the weekend, Friday’s sessions were ok but there was some room for improvement,” said Buller. “Unfortunately, on the second lap during Saturdays Qualifying I hit a damp section at Turn two and went off track and was unable to finish the session.
“The Series allowed me to start in the afternoon Race but it was from the back, despite this I had a great start and bounded up by nearly ten places. Its s shame [Pietro] Fantin hit me causing a puncture. I was sure I could’ve finished with some good points.
“Sunday started off better with a good Qualifying session into the top ten but again I was caught up in another incident with Sirotkin and my race ended too early. I hope the race luck will turn around in Paul Ricard and I can get some points on the leader board.”