Robert Wickens completed a double victory at round seven of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series at Silverstone on Sunday. The Carlin racer achieved a comfortable win over Alexander Rossi (Fortec), who charged through the field from sixth on the grid to finish two seconds adrift of the Canadian.
Carlin has sealed its first Formula Renault 3.5 teams' championship as result of Wickens' maximum score and team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne's fifth place.
"I had a good start," said Wickens, "but I didn't have that much raw speed before my pit stop as my car had some oversteer. After the stop I could control the race and it was just a case of limiting my mistakes."
Rossi's Fortec team had opted for a slightly risky setup in qualifying that failed to yield dividends. The American was back on form in the race and, aided by an early pit stop on lap five, leapt ahead of Red Bull Junior drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Vergne in the pitstop sequence.
"The pit stop was phenomenal and strategy was perfect it allowed me to attack in clear air at the beginning of the race," said Rossi. "There were times when we were almost two seconds quicker than the leaders and that really allowed me to come back into the race."
Starting from the outside of the front row, erstwhile championship leader Vergne had a frustrating afternoon. The early laps had offered promise when Vergne attacked Wickens for the lead. But a sticky wheel nut on his left-rear wheel delayed the reigning British Formula 3 champion's tire change and allowed Ricciardo, who had followed Vergne into the pits at the end of lap eight, to rejoin ahead of the Frenchman.
Ricciardo's ISR teammate Nathanael Berthon further demoted Vergne. Berthon led for five laps by staying out on track until towards the end of the pit window on lap 15, and split the Red Bull cars as he exited the pits.
Joining Vergne in suffering a troubled pit stop, Albert Costa lost a potential podium when his EPIC Racing crew encountered difficulty changing his right-rear wheel. The former Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup champion salvaged sixth place.
At the head of the drivers' standings, Wickens extended his points total to 198, Vergne drops 36 points adrift in second with two rounds of the championship remaining. The next meeting takes place at Paul Ricard on Sept. 17-18.
Results - 25 laps:
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
1. Robert Wickens Carlin 45m55.935s
2. Alexander Rossi Fortec + 2.034s
3. Daniel Ricciardo ISR + 14.576s
4. Nathanael Berthon ISR + 15.833s
5. Jean-Eric Vergne Carlin + 16.210s
6. Albert Costa EPIC + 17.015s
7. Jake Rosenzweig Mofaz + 18.400s
8. Brendon Hartley Gravity-Charouz + 19.154s
9. Cesar Ramos Fortec + 19.702s
10. Kevin Korjus Tech 1 + 22.927s
11. Jan Charouz Gravity-Charouz + 23.718s
12. Sten Pentus EPIC + 25.501s
13. Walter Grubmuller P1 + 30.769s
14. Oliver Webb Pons + 31.101s
15. Daniel Zampieri BVM Target + 41.822s
16. Nick Yelloly Pons + 42.105s
17. Anton Nebylitskiy KMP + 50.853s
18. Andre Negrao Draco + 51.330s
19. Nelson Panciatici KMP + 52.265s
20. Fairuz Fauzy Mofaz + 55.416s
21. Sergio Canamasas BVM Target + 55.970s
22. Stephane Richelmi Draco + 1m00.227s
23. Arthur Pic Tech 1 + 1m26.734s
Daniil Move P1 21 laps
Daniel de Jong Comtec 10 laps
Daniel McKenzie Comtec 1 laps