Formula Renault 3.5 (Rd 6, Red Bull Ring)
A masterful display from Marco Sorensen was more than enough to deliver two Formula Renault 3.5 poles and victories at the Red Bull Ring at the weekend. In both events, the Lotus racer took the top spot several seconds clear of the chasing Nigel Melker (Tech 1) and Kevin Magnussen (DAMS).
Despite a twice safety car interrupted first race, Sorensen made it look easy, as he pulled clear of his rivals. From there, Sorensen set a stellar pace with little fuss from behind to ensure his first victory since Spa-Francorchamps last year. Melker finished nearly five seconds clear of Magnussen, having taken the McLaren junior on the opening tour, with neither facing any threats thereafter.
Will Stevens enjoyed a solid race to finish 4th ahead of Arthur Pic, while Will Buller (6th) pipped Antonio Felix da Costa – struggling with engine issues – to the line. Marlon Stockinger appeared to closing in on da Costa for 7th late on until the lapped Christopher Zanella inexplicably blocked him, losing the Filipino-Swiss racer several seconds. Andre Negrao and Jazeman Jaafar rounded out the top ten. Title protagonist Stoffel Vandoorne had his race end after 12 laps with a water leak.
Sorensen repeated his race one victory on Sunday with another dominant drive, although another safety car period nearly toppled the Dane. Sorensen led from the off, drawing easily away from Magnussen, until the race was neutralised, offering the DAMS pilot another opportunity. Despite a feisty restart, it was not to be taken, ensuring Sorensen full points again.
Magnussen would lose his 2nd place post-race however after it was judged he passed Melker outside of the track limits on the opening lap, after Melker had been knocked into a half-spin by Vandoorne. As a result, Magnussen had two seconds added to his final race time, dropping him to 3rd behind Melker. An off-kilter pit strategy helped Melker rise back up the order, but the leading pair were beyond the Dutchman as the stops filtered.
Sergey Sirotkin took a late 4th from Stevens. The Russian’s position was boosted by staying out long, propelling him clear of Buller, bringing him in range of Stevens’ Strakka entry, while Buller also moved by Stevens in the final tours for 5th. Stockinger assumed 7th ahead of Nico Muller (8th), Pietro Fantin (9th) and Norman Nato (10th). Neither Vandoorne nor da Costa finished, dropping the former 27 points behind Magnussen in the points standings. Red Bull junior Da Costa, meanwhile, falls to 5th in the championship.