Pit road speeding costs team a 1-2 finish
A storming start from third on the grid launched Brendon Hartley into second place during the opening laps of the World Series Renault 3.5 ‘pit stop’ race at Silverstone in England overnight. The New Zealander was holding a solid second when he peeled into the pits on lap nine for the compulsory tyre change; only to be hit with a drive through penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
That additional pit stop effectively took Hartley out of the picture, leaving his teammate Charles Pic to take an unchallenged victory at Silverstone. Instead of the French Tech 1 team taking what was shaping up to be a 1-2 finish, Hartley trailed home in 13th place.
Following a formidable pole position effort on Saturday, Charles Pic put in a fine display to build a 4.2-second winning margin. With little prospect of anyone troubling the Renault Development driver, it was a home-grown scrap for second between James Walker and Oliver Turvey that provided the action.
Turvey was able to hound his countryman through the second part of the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, but lost ground to Walker through the fast, opening sequence of corners.
At the chequered flag, Turvey was just 0.3s adrift to repeat his Saturday result of third, while Walker's result moves him ahead of Bertrand Baguette into second position in the championship.
Charles Pic led the 28-lap race from start to finish to claim his first win of the season in the Renault 3.5 Series. For the second time during the weekend, Pic lined up on the start grid in pole position ahead of Walker, who was supported by a large British following.
The Tech 1 Racing drivers both made dream starts with Pic leading into the first turn ahead of Hartley, who left James Walker standing as the lights went out. Pic completed lap 1 in the lead, ahead of Hartley, Walker, Turvey and Fairuz Fauzy.
While Pic pulled away, team-mate Hartley was busy containing Walker, Turvey and Fauzy. Just behind the foursome, Marcos Martinez led the main field of drivers, in tight formation as far back as Adrian Zaugg, in twelfth. The order was upset in this group when Bertrand Baguette moved past Jaime Alguersuari into eighth place.
Walker was the first of the leaders to go in for the compulsory pit stop, changing two of his wheels. Meanwhile, Pic was pushing hard and put in a series of fast laps. He was five seconds ahead of Hartley when the Kiwi stormed into the pits; only to see his chances ruined with a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
Pic and Turvey were among the last drivers to pit and when he came out, the French driver was still in first place ahead of Walker. A fierce duel between British drivers then ensued as Turvey edged closer to Walker.
Further back, Fauzy was now in fourth place ahead of Martinez and Baguette. With 15 minutes to go, Baguette managed to oust the Renault 3.5 Series leader from fifth place.
Despite attacks from Turvey on Walker and from Martinez on Baguette, the order remained the same to chequered flag. Pic put an end to his previously disappointing form this season, claiming his first victory of the year.
With his sixth place, Martinez stays in the lead of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series championship, but now has Walker in second, six points behind.
Brendon Hartley finished fifth in the ‘reverse-grid’ opening race of the weekend on Saturday. The 19-year-old was just 6.1 sec behind race winner Marcos Martinez after 28 laps.
The weekend began strongly for Hartley when his Red Bull entry topped the times for his group in qualifying and then took third fastest time in the Super Pole session on Saturday morning.