Daniel Ricciardo claimed his second Formula Renault 3.5 win of the season with a dominant drive at the Hungaroring
From his fifth pole of the year, the reigning British Formula 3 champion displayed an impressive margin of superiority. The Australian Tech 1 driver finished 13.7 seconds ahead of Carlin's Mikhail Aleshin and recorded a fastest lap six tenths quicker than his opposition.
Following a strong getaway from the front row, championship leader Aleshin threatened to take the lead at the first corner. But save for another slight opportunity on a restart from a safety car period, the Russian was unable to get on terms thereafter.
"That was a really hot race, but growing up in Australia possibly meant I wasn't feeling it as much as some of the European drivers," said Ricciardo. "I picked up some crap on my tyres behind the safety car and it took a couple of laps for them to clear. After that I could see from my pit board that I was getting further and further ahead."
The closest scrap among the frontrunners was between Sten Pentus and Brendon Hartley for third place. Fortec's Pentus passed Tech 1 driver Hartley on the run down to Turn 1 at the start, but was forced to spend the rest of the race defending his position.
Pentus' Fortec team-mate Jon Lancaster had also attacked Hartley at the start, only to encounter trouble and drop back to 16th at the completion of the opening lap. The fifth-place qualifier's recovery drive ended after tangling with Walter Grubmuller (P1) at the final corner on lap 21.
Fifth eventually fell to Junior Lotus man Nelson Panciatici, who held off a charging Albert Costa (Epsilon Euskadi) by half a second at the chequered flag. Formula Renault Eurocup champion Costa had worked his way up through the field from 16th on the grid.
Magny-Cours victor Nathanael Berthon (Draco), who started from last position after crashing in qualifying, became the first of eight retirements after clipping Epsilon's Keisuke Kunimoto at the chicane on the first lap.
The safety car was called out when Sergio Canamasas (Interwetten) left the road at Turn 11 on lap four. Ricciardo lost a 3.1s lead as a result, and allowed Aleshin a final chance of making an overtaking attempt.
"I think I was too cautious at the start," said Aleshin. "That was my best opportunity and perhaps I could have braked later and tried to pass. Even so Danny was so much quicker I think it would have been hard to keep him behind."
Rookie team KMP Racing lost a possible strong points haul after Anton Nebylitskiy was called in from sixth place to serve a drivethrough penalty for not respecting the track limits.
Aleshin leads the championship with 87 points, with Ricciardo now just six adrift. Esteban Guerrieri remains in third on 58 after the withdrawal of his ISR team from the meeting. The team pulled out after technical inspection revealed cracked tubs, possibly caused by kerb damage.
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Daniel Ricciardo Tech 1 47m14.151s 2. Mikhail Aleshin Carlin + 13.758s 3. Sten Pentus Fortec + 29.710s 4. Brendon Hartley Tech 1 + 31.154s 5. Nelson Panciatici Junior Lotus + 38.845s 6. Albert Costa Epsilon Euskadi + 39.345s 7. Jan Charouz P1 + 39.796s 8. Daniel Zampieri Pons + 1m00.963s 9. Jake Rosenzweig Carlin + 1m02.240s 10. Keisuke Kunimoto Epsilon Euskadi + 1m02.819s 11. Anton Nebylitskiy KMP + 1m03.345s 12. Walter Grubmuller P1 + 1m05.581s 13. Victor Garcia KMP + 1m06.716s 14. Bruno Mendez FHV Interwetten + 1m25.715s Retirements: Greg Mansell Comtec 22 laps Jon Lancaster Fortec 20 laps Stefano Coletti Comtec 17 laps Daniil Move Junior Lotus 13 laps Sergio Canamasas FHV Interwetten 3 laps Nathanael Berthon Draco 1 lap Federico Leo Pons 0 laps Julian Leal Draco 0 laps
The 2015 Formula Renault 3.5 season will be notable for being the last with the French company's backing but also produced a worthy champion in Oliver Rowland. PETER MILLS evaluates this year's crop of drivers
Last year's field was extraordinary and hard to match, but the Formula Renault 3.5 grid will still have plenty of talent this season. Glenn Freeman runs through the field ahead of this weekend's season opener
Landing the Fortec seat that took rising star Robin Frijns to the 2012 FR3.5 title was already a good sign for Stoffel Vandoorne. Then McLaren took him under its wing. Peter Mills tells Vandoorne's story so far