FR3.5 Championship Down to Carlin

Today was a bit crazy for Jean-Eric Vergne. Qualifying on pole at Paul Ricard, he also won a race that happened quite a bit earlier in the season – the second round at Monza. He had originally been demoted to third with a ten-second penalty, but the penalty was removed on appeal by the team. This gave him ten extra points, but Ricciardo lost seven and Rossi lost three. The French driver now only had 24 points less than teammate Wickens.
With 100 points up for grabs, today’s race turned out to be a decider for Daniel Ricciardo, who was mathematically in contention. Held up by a very slow Alex Rossi for a good part of the race, he was unable to contend for a podium position. The win was taken from pole by Vergne, and in second was Albert Costa. Costa was disqualified, however, after his car was ruled underweight in post-race scrutineering. Crossing the line third and promoted to second was Robert Wickens. He now has 216 points to Vergne’s 199 – 17 points apart. In third was Brendon Hartley, and fourth was Jake Rosenzweig who crossed the line sixth, but was promoted due to Costa’s disqualification and also a ten-second penalty to Riccidardo for breaking track limits. Sergio Canamasas took fifth, with the Aussie demoted to sixth. The Aussie is now out of contention, with only 126 points. That’s 90 less than Wickens with three races to go. Ricciardo might be able to get third in the championship, but his F1 career might just get in the way. The two drivers behind him – Korjus and Costa – both have 120 points, and Rossi has 113.
So it’s down to new Toro Rosso reserve Verge and Virgin reserve Wickens. If Carlin keep Max Chilton on for next year, they’ll only be able to put one of them in their GP2 team. That is, if they don’t get snapped up by one of the other teams first, or if their respective F1 teams don’t take a punt on them next year.

Pole for Bortolotti and Vergne

I completely overslept this morning! Anyway, championship leader Mirko Bortolotti is on pole for the F2 race this afternoon. That’s his second of the season, having taken pole in the first round at Silverstone. Second is Romanian Mihai Marinescu, which is his best of the season so far. Third is Will Bratt, who took the pole at the second Spa race and is currently fourth in the championship. In fourth is Alex Brundle, who had a rough weekend at Spa and is only sixth in the championship and 60 points behind Bortolotti.
Christopher Zanella took a disappointing seventh, while the suberb 17-year-old rookie Jordan King again managed the top 10 to start 9th. He’ll be one to watch in the future. And by the future I mean this afternoon.

In Formula Renault 3.5, pole was taken by Jean-Eric Vergne for Carlin. The French driver struggled at the last race with a retirement in the first round, and is joint second in the championship 30 points behind teammate Wickens.
Second and third are both surprises. Spaniard Sergio Canamasas is 18th in the championship, and his best finish is 8th. But he’s in P2. Russian Daniil Move is 11th in the championship with a best finish of third but mostly low finishes. He starts P3. In fourth is Brendon Hartley, fifth is Alexander Rossi, and Daniel Ricciardo – 43 points behind Wickens with 8 races to go – qualifies sixth. Can he really make up for missing out on the first race? Wickens starts 11th.