Paul Ricard FR3.5: Magnussen on brink of title after win
|By Glenn Freeman||Saturday, September 28th 2013, 12:36 GMT|
Kevin Magnussen took a big step towards becoming this year's Formula Renault 3.5 champion with a dominant win in race one at Paul Ricard.
The McLaren junior fended off a fast-starting Antonio Felix da Costa on the opening lap, before easing away during the middle of the race to take a comfortable victory.
While da Costa was able to match Magnussen's pace early on as the pair traded fastest laps, the Red Bull junior had to settle for second as the lead stretched to nearly six seconds before Magnussen backed off towards the end.
Magnussen's title rival Stoffel Vandoorne, who started alongside the points leader on the front row, recovered from a sluggish start to take third.
Vandoorne lost second to da Costa off the line, and was then passed into Turn 1 by a very fast-starting Andre Negrao, who started seventh.
The Brazilian lost the place at Turn 3 though, as Vandoorne pulled off a crucial pass to get third position back.
After that Negrao pushed him hard to the finish, while Marco Sorensen took fifth.
Sixth place went to Will Stevens, who raced his way from 10th on the grid in the early laps to make up ground.
Further back, Nico Muller charged from the back of the field (having stalled on the warm-up lap from fourth on the grid) to just miss out on the points in 11th, while a late-race incident caused by suspension failure put Carlos Sainz out of seventh place.
Today's results mean Magnussen can win the title in race two on Sunday if he outscores Vandoorne by five points.
Results - 25 laps: Pos Driver Tea Time/Gap 1. Kevin Magnussen DAMS 47ms09.036s 2. Antonio Felix da Costa Arden Caterham +3.864s 3. Stoffel Vandoorne Fortec +5.796s 4. Andre Negrao Draco +8.434s 5. Marco Sorensen Lotus +9.817s 6. Will Stevens P1 by Strakka +11.635s 7. Arthur Pic AV Formula +28.044s 8. Nikolay Martsenko Pons +29.183s 9. Will Buller Zeta Corse +32.652s 10. Daniil Move Comtec +33.242s 11. Nico Muller Draco +33.668s 12. Pietro Fantin Arden Caterham +35.445s 13. Zoel Amberg Pons +35.908s 14. Oliver Webb Fortec +48.245s 15. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin +56.204s 16. Marlon Stockinger Lotus +1m08.168s 17. Carlos Sainz Jr Zeta Corse +1 lap 18. Mikhail Aleshin Tech 1 +1 lap 19. Norman Nato DAMS +1 lap Retirements:
Yann Cunha AV Formula 20 laps Matias Laine P1 by Strakka 20 laps Nigel Melker Tech 1 5 laps Carlos Huertas Carlin 5 laps Christopher Zanella ISR 2 laps Lucas Foresti Comtec 0 laps