Monza FR3.5: Vandoorne takes dominant debut win

Stoffel Vandoorne nursed a badly flat-spotted tyre home to take a dominant victory on his Formula Renault 3.5 debut at Monza on Saturday

Monza FR3.5: Vandoorne takes dominant debut win

The McLaren junior driver suffered a huge lock-up into Turn 1 on lap 12 when he had already broken clear of the chasing pack after a messy start.

But the resulting flat spot from that lock-up gave him a huge vibration. By the end of the race the tyre was close to falling apart.

Vandoorne's woes appeared to give Antonio Felix da Costa a chance of victory once the Red Bull junior had picked his way though the chasing pack.

Vandoorne: future McLaren F1 star?

The pre-season title favourite was reeling the rookie in, but then retired in spectacular fashion at the first corner with a puncture.

That left Kevin Magnussen in second, but the Dane could do nothing about Vandoorne's big lead as he suffered a flat spot of his own.

Vandoorne had opened out a lead in the early laps as he broke clear of the chaos behind him, where several cars cut the chicane on lap one and fifth place starter Daniil Move was spun out.

There was more action to follow as Nikolay Martsenko tried to hold onto a surprise second place.

The Russian was fending off Will Stevens, who eventually tried to pass him on the outside into Turn 1, but bounced over the Turn 2 kerb and spun Martsenko out.

Their clash promoted da Costa to second, and in the seven laps that followed he reduced the gap to Vandoorne from nearly 10 seconds to just 5.6 before his retirement.

Magnussen was the next to inherit second place, having passed Christopher Zanella shortly before that. But the Swiss driver and Oliver Webb gave Magnussen a hard time all the way to the chequered flag.

Behind them, Nigel Melker held off a charging Arthur Pic - who started 22nd - to complete the top five.

Pos Driver                 Team         Time/Gap
 1. Stoffel Vandoorne      Fortec      46m48.474s
 2. Kevin Magnussen        DAMS          + 7.053s
 3. Christopher Zanella    ISR           + 8.596s
 4. Oliver Webb            Fortec        + 8.991s
 5. Nigel Melker           Tech 1        + 16.461s
 6. Arthur Pic             AV Formula    + 17.087s
 7. Jazeman Jaafar         Carlin        + 17.838s
 8. Mihai Marinescu        Zeta Corse    + 18.474s
 9. Matias Laine           P1            + 19.932s
10. Norman Nato            DAMS          + 25.456s
11. Andre Negrao           Draco         + 29.408s
12. Zoel Amberg            Pons          + 38.137s
13. Nico Muller            Draco         + 38.144s
14. Marlon Stockinger      Lotus         + 38.988s
15. Mikhail Aleshin        Tech 1        + 45.247s
16. Carlos Huertas         Carlin        + 45.650s
17. Emmanuel Piget         Zeta Corse    + 49.859s
18. Will Stevens           P1            + 56.310s
19. Marco Sorensen         Lotus         + 1 lap

Retirements:
   Driver                  Team            Laps
   Pietro Fantin           Arden Caterham   23
   A.F.da Costa            Arden Caterham   13
   N.Martsenko             Pons             6
   Lucas Foresti           Comtec           1
   Sergey Sirotkin         ISR              1
   Yann Cunha              AV Formula       0
   Daniil Move             Comtec           0

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Monza FR3.5: Stoffel Vandoorne takes pole on debut
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