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PaddockScout Roundup: WSR Nurburgring, European F3 Moscow

by Peter Allen

Formula Renault 3.5: Sainz and Merhi win on dramatic weekend


Photo: Jean Michel Le Meur/DPPI

A fifth win of the year was enough for Carlos Sainz to extend his lead in the Formula Renault 3.5 standings despite a first corner crash in race two. The Spaniard snatched Saturday’s pole from the grasp of his Fortec rivals and led the race from start to finish. He was second off the line in race two but?contact was made at turn one with Oliver Rowland on his inside, forcing both into retirement. Rowland had chased Sainz in race one but lost second when his car became stuck in fourth gear with a lap to go, dropping him to fourth place.

Roberto Merhi was the star of the weekend. Fresh from his maiden win in Moscow a fortnight earlier, Merhi inherited second in race one when Rowland slowed, and then led race two from pole position, leaving the chaos behind him. His form has lifted him to second in the standings, 39 points behind Sainz.

His cause was helped by a poor weekend for Pierre Gasly, who started 17th for race one and finished 20th after contact necessitated a front wing change. His Sunday qualifying was even worse – 21st of the 22 drivers – but he steered his way through the chaotic first few corners to take eighth and salvage four points from the weekend.

Sergey Sirotkin has put his run of non-finishes firmly behind him now, following his Moscow win with a third and a fourth in Germany to move up to fifth, within 14 points of third-placed Gasly. Matthieu Vaxiviere had an impressive return from the back injury that kept him out of Spa and Moscow, finishing a close second to Merhi in race two, with Lotus team-mate Marlon Stockinger in third.

Formula Renault 3.5 Series Round 6/9 ? Nurburgring, Germany
Race 1
Report: Carlos Sainz survives late rain to win first Nurburgring race
1st: Carlos Sainz 2nd: Roberto Merhi 3rd: Sergey Sirotkin
Race 2
Report: Merhi wins second Nurburgring race as Sainz and Rowland collide
1st: Roberto Merhi 2nd: Matthieu Vaxiviere 3rd: Marlon Stockinger
Championship standings
1 Carlos Sainz 157 pts
2 Roberto Merhi 118 pts
3 Pierre Gasly 103 pts
4 Oliver Rowland 96 pts
5 Sergey Sirotkin 89 pts
6 Will Stevens 84 pts
Next round: Hungaroring (13-14 September)

Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0: De Vries and Olsen move clear with wins

Dennis Olsen

Photo: Jean Michel Le Meur/DPPI

Nyck de Vries extended his points lead in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 with his second win of the season in race one at the Nurburgring. He then finished fourth in race two – third of those eligible for points – to end the weekend with a 30-point lead.

His nearest rival is now Dennis Olsen, who also grabbed his second win of the season in race two after a fourth in race one. Prema team-mate Bruno Bonifacio had his second straight non-scoring weekend but is still third in the standings, 28 points behind Olsen.

Alex Albon started race one from pole position but had to settle for second after being beaten off the line by his old karting rival de Vries. Jack Aitken finally got off the mark with a fine drive to third in wet conditions in race one before adding sixth in race two.

Charles Leclerc followed up his two Alps series wins at Monza with a fine wildcard appearance, finishing fifth and second in the two races. de Vries’ Koiranen team-mates had strong weekends, with Ignazio D’Agosto sixth and third and Nick Cassidy eighth and fifth – although the Kiwi failed to make the most of qualifying third and second.

Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Round 4/7 ? Nurburgring, Germany
Race 1
Report: Nyck de Vries extends Eurocup lead with race one win at Nurburgring
1st: Nyck de Vries 2nd: Alexander Albon 3rd: Jack Aitken
Race 2
Report: Dennis Olsen mounts title assault with race two victory at the Nurburgring
1st: Dennis Olsen 2nd: Charles Leclerc 3rd: Ignazio D’Agosto
Championship standings
1 Nyck de Vries 128 pts
2 Dennis Olsen 98 pts
3 Bruno Bonifacio 70 pts
4 Andrea Pizzitola 65 pts
5 Alexander Albon 60 pts
6 Kevin Jorg 57 pts
Next round: Hungaroring (13-14 September)

Formula Renault 1.6 NEC: De Pasquale with another double


Photo: FR1.6 NEC

Anton De Pasquale reclaimed the initiative in the Formula Renault 1.6 NEC with two wins at the Nurburgring to extend his points lead.

He and rival Janneau Esmeijer had each claimed a double win at Zandvoort and Spa respectively, and it was Esmeijer who led the opening race at first before being penalised for a jump start.

He was able to recover to fourth, before finishing second to the Australian in race two, dropping to 30 points behind the championship leader. Larry ten Voorde finished second and third in the two races, with Max Defourny third and fourth.

Formula Renault 1.6 NEC Junior Round 3/7 ? Nurburgring, Germany
Race 1
Report: De Pasquale wins first Nurburgring race after Esmeijer penalty
1st: Anton De Pasquale 2nd: Larry ten Voorde 3rd: Max Defourny
Race 2
Report: De Pasquale clinches Nurburgring double in race two
1st: Anton De Pasquale 2nd: Janneau Esmeijer 3rd: Larry ten Voorde
Championship standings
1 Anton De Pasquale 168 pts
2 Janneau Esmeijer 138 pts
3 Max Defourny 102 pts
4 Larry ten Voorde 98 pts
5 Florian Janits 87 pts
6 Oliver Soderstrom 85 pts
Next round: Assen (3 August)

FIA F3 European Championship: Ocon halts Verstappen with a treble of his own

Esteban Ocon

Photo: FIA F3 European Championship

Esteban Ocon ended Max Verstappen‘s run of six wins from six races with his first weekend lockout in Moscow. The Frenchman claimed his sixth, seventh and eighth wins of the season – all from pole position – to extend his championship lead to over 100 points.

Verstappen was third in race one and second in race three, but retired from race two with an alternator problem. Jordan King scored his third consecutive podium in race one to claim second, but after a fifth in race two, his weekend ended with a clash with Lucas Auer (fifth and fourth in the earlier two races).

Antonio Fuoco enjoyed his best weekend since his debut at Silverstone, with sixth in race one followed by second and then third. Tom Blomqvist took a fourth, a third and a seventh.

FIA F3 European Championship Round 7/11 ? Moscow, Russia
Race 1
Report: Ocon cruises to sixth win in race one at Moscow Raceway
1st: Esteban Ocon 2nd: Jordan King 3rd: Max Verstappen
Race 2
Report: Ocon doubles up in second race at Moscow Raceway
1st: Esteban Ocon 2nd: Antonio Fuoco 3rd: Tom Blomqvist
Race 3
Report: Ocon keeps Verstappen at bay to complete Moscow hat-trick
1st: Esteban Ocon 2nd: Max Verstappen 3rd: Antonio Fuoco
Championship standings
1 Esteban Ocon 379 pts
2 Max Verstappen 263 pts
3 Lucas Auer 211 pts
4 Tom Blomqvist 208 pts
5 Antonio Fuoco 162 pts
6 Jordan King 134 pts
Next round: Spielberg (2-3 August)

Italian F4: Maisano and Stroll dominate for Prema

Italian F4

Photo: ACI Sport

Prema Powerteam dominated the third round of the new Italian F4 series at Mugello, with Brandon Maisano claiming two wins and Lance Stroll extending his championship lead. Former Ferrari junior Maisano scored his first win in the series from pole position in race one, was third in race two and then won the final race despite starting from the back after triggering an aborted start.

Karting graduate Stroll was second to Maisano in race one before winning race two from tenth on the reverse grid. Maisano’s problems saw Stroll lead race three, but he was penalised for forcing Andrea Russo off track and ended up sixth. With Maisano not eligible to fight Stroll in the main championship, the Canadian leads by 61 points over Russo.

Russo took maximum points for second behind Maisano in race three, after finishing sixth and second in the earlier two races. Leonardo Pulcini took third in race one and repeated that in race two, only to be penalised for a technical irregularity on his car, before finishing back in 14th in race three. Alain Valente scored his first podium behind Maisano and Russo in race three.

Italian F4 Championship Round 3/7 ? Mugello, Italy
Race 1
Report: Brandon Maisano clinches first Italian F4 win in Mugello opener
1st: Brandon Maisano 2nd: Lance Stroll 3rd: Leonardo Pulcini
Race 2
Report: Lance Stroll charges to race two win at Mugello from ninth
1st: Lance Stroll 2nd: Andrea Russo 3rd: Brandon Maisano
Race 3
Report: Brandon Maisano charges from last to victory in final Mugello race
1st: Brandon Maisano 2nd: Andrea Russo 3rd: Alain Valente
Championship standings
1 Lance Stroll 175 pts
2 Andrea Russo 114 pts
3 Leonardo Pulcini 84 pts
4 Alain Valente 80 pts
5 Mattia Drudi 53 pts
6 Takashi Kasai 40 pts
Next round: Magione (2-3 August)

Formula Renault 1.6 Nordic: Two wins for Sundahl, one for Fredricsson

Lukas Sundahl and Pontus Fredricsson heaped the pressure on Formula Renault 1.6 Nordic leader Joonas Lappalainen by sharing the wins at round three at Falkenberg. Sundahl won the opening two races from pole before finishing sixth in a safety-car dominated race three.

Fredricsson claimed victory in torrential rain conditions in race three (the weather led to the cancellation of race four), after a fifth and a second in Saturday’s races. Lappalainen failed to finish race one after a first-lap off, before fighting his way up to sixth from the back of the grid in race two and finishing second in race three.

Kevin Aabol finished second and third in the opening two races before retiring from race three. Robert Svensson and Paul Blomqvist were also podium finishers, coming third in races one and three respectively.

Formula Renault 1.6 Nordic Round 3/7 ? Falkenberg, Sweden
Race 1
Report: Lukas Sundahl wins both Saturday races at Falkenberg
1st: Lukas Sundahl 2nd: Kevin Aabol 3rd: Robert Svensson
Race 2
Report: Lukas Sundahl wins both Saturday races at Falkenberg
1st: Lukas Sundahl 2nd: Pontus Fredricsson 3rd: Kevin Aabol
Race 3
Report: Fredricsson wins Sunday race under safety car
1st: Pontus Fredricsson 2nd: Joonas Lappalainen 3rd: Paul Blomqvist
Championship standings
1 Joonas Lappalainen 137 pts
2 Lukas Sundahl 122 pts
3 Pontus Fredricsson 105 pts
4 Kevin Aabol 86 pts
5 Paul Blomqvist 65 pts
6 Robert Svensson 59 pts
Next round: Parnu (8-9 August)

Japanese F3: Takaboshi and Matsushita claim Fuji wins

F3 Fuji

Photo: Japanese Formula 3 Association

Kenta Yamashita did enough to keep the lead of the Japanese F3 title race despite his two nearest rivals Mitsunori Takaboshi and Nobuharu Matsushita winning at Fuji.

Nissan-backed Takaboshi began race one from pole, and although he lost the lead at the start to Tom’s driver Takamoto Katsuta, he regained the place on lap three and went on to record his second win of the season. Takaboshi would finish fourth in race two, reversing the weekend results of Honda man Matsushita, who led race two from start to finish.

18-year-old Yamashita finished second in both races, keeping him one point ahead of Matsushita in the standings, and ten ahead of Takaboshi. Katsuta ended up sixth and fifth in the two races, leaving last year’s runner-up 26 points off the lead but four ahead of?Daiki Sasaki, who finished both races in third.

Japanese F3 Round 4/6 ? Fuji, Japan
Race 1
1st: Mitsunori Takaboshi 2nd: Kenta Yamashita 3rd: Daiki Sasaki
Race 2
1st: Nobuharu Matsushita 2nd: Kenta Yamashita 3rd: Daiki Sasaki
Championship standings
1 Kenta Yamashita 64 pts
2 Nobuharu Matsushita 63 pts
3 Mitsunori Takaboshi 54 pts
4 Takamoto Katsuta 38 pts
5 Daiki Sasaki 34 pts
6 Shota Kiyohara 10 pts
Next round: Motegi (23-24 August)

Star Driver: Roberto Merhi

The former Euro F3 champion has now firmly put his DTM struggles behind him and reminded the world of what he can do in a single-seater. What’s particularly impressive is the way he’s pushed the Zeta Corse team forward from last year when they didn’t look as strong as this despite having Sainz on board.

Roberto Merhi

Photo: Francois Flamand/DPPI