Monaco FR3.5: Nico Muller clinches first victory
|By Glenn Freeman||Sunday, May 26th 2013, 10:11 GMT|
Nico Muller took his maiden Formula Renault 3.5 victory in the Monaco Grand Prix support race on Sunday.
The Swiss driver converted his maiden pole position into a first corner lead at the start, and from there he was able to manage the threat of those behind to never come under serious pressure.
Marco Sorensen took second place, having grabbed the position from front row starter Jazeman Jaafar off the line.
The Dane worked hard to chip away at Muller's lead, but every time he got it under two seconds the leader was able to edge away again.
Jaafar took a relatively lonely third on his first visit to Monaco, while championship contenders Kevin Magnussen and Antonio Felix da Costa were next up.
Magnussen pulled off the only genuine overtaking move at the front of the field to grab fourth from Carlos Sainz Jr, who had pushed him back a place at the start.
But when the Spaniard - making his debut this weekend - made a small mistake in the second part of the Swimming Pool section, Magnussen used that opportunity to pounce down the inside at Rascasse.
Sainz's lost momentum cost him another place, as da Costa was able to outdrag him on the exit of the corner for fifth.
Da Costa then launched an aggressive attack on Magnussen as the race entered its final couple of laps, but Magnussen was able to defend his every move, even when debris in a wheel forced him to slow late on.
Will Stevens and Mikhail Aleshin closed the gap to Sainz in the closing stages, as the Spaniard battled brake problems that have affected him all weekend. However, he was able to prevent Stevens from getting close enough to attack.
Behind them, Stoffel Vandoorne - who started 10th after receiving a grid penalty earlier in the weekend - had a quiet race to ninth. The Belgian gained his only place courtesy of a slow starting Norman Nato, and he then spent a lot of the race fending off Arthur Pic.
Results - 32 laps: Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Nico Muller Draco 45m42.877s 2. Marco Sorensen Lotus + 3.484s 3. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin + 7.184s 4. Kevin Magnussen DAMS + 14.549s 5. Antonio Felix da Costa Arden Caterham + 15.378s 6. Carlos Sainz Jr Zeta + 21.230s 7. Will Stevens P1/Strakka + 22.135s 8. Mikhail Aleshin Tech 1 + 22.555s 9. Stoffel Vandoorne Fortec + 23.403s 10. Arthur Pic AV + 32.031s 11. Oliver Webb Fortec + 33.746s 12. Andre Negrao Draco + 34.283s 13. Daniil Move Comtec + 34.936s 14. Nick Yelloly Zeta + 41.652s 15. Carlos Huertas Carlin + 50.278s 16. Lucas Foresti Comtec + 1m17.314s 17. Nigel Melker Tech 1 + 1m19.965s 18. Yann Cunha AV + 1m28.176s 19. Matias Laine P1/Strakka + 1 lap 20. Zoel Amberg Pons + 1 lap Retirements: Nikolay Martsenko Pons 30 laps Sergey Sirotkin ISR 30 laps Pietro Fantin Arden Caterham 27 laps Norman Nato DAMS 17 laps Christopher Zanella ISR 12 laps Marlon Stockinger Lotus 0 laps