It was a day of severe weather and dramatic conditions for Carlin’s Formula Renault 3.5 team as they undertook both a wet qualifying and race with Kevin Magnussen and Will Stevens in Paul Ricard today. The early morning qualifying session was delayed due to bad conditions which also blighted this afternoon’s race; however Magnussen made his way up the field to finish sixth while Stevens had another great start to finish the race just outside the points in 11th.
The early morning qualifying session today was delayed as the track was deemed too wet and windy to drive on. The session did get underway however it was called to a halt with the conditions not improving. The order of the day was to get a quick lap in early in the session, unfortunately yellow flags and track conditions made getting the optimum lap very difficult.
As qualifying progressed the track became greasier as it dried giving very few opportunities for drivers to move up the grid. However Stevens was one of the few who was able to, and he took the flag in 18th position. Team mate Magnussen had been lying in the top 10 for the majority of the session however as the times fell he took the flag in 13th.
With just a few minutes before the race began the weather took another turn for the worse with rain falling over the circuit. A quick change to wet tyres before heading to the starting grid and both Magnussen and Stevens were ready for what was inevitably going to be a tricky race.
As the lights went out both drivers had good starts and handled the ever changing conditions well. By the end of the first lap Magnussen had made his way up to ninth and a quick starting Stevens was in 11th. However as the race continued the track developed further with the positions at the front of the grid changing on a lap by lap basis.
For Magnussen and Stevens they were able to hold their positions in the race well. However in the final few minutes the rain fell heavier again seeing a couple drivers spin out of their positions and fall down the grid. Magunssen benefited from this and a great overtaking move on a struggling Robin Frijns saw him make up another position to come home in sixth. Team mate Stevens was just outside of the points after another strong race to finish 11th.
Kevin Magnussen said of the day’s action, ‘Qualifying was a little difficult for us this morning and I was disappointed to not have been higher up the grid. My start wasn’t the greatest however those around me lost positions and I could take the advantage and take places in the first lap. Towards the end of the race Robin [Frijns] was struggling so I was able to take a further position from him. It was a case of not taking any risks and just settling into the rhythm to take a good finish and more points.’
Team mate Will Stevens added, ‘Qualifying was tricky for everyone today – we hadn’t driven here in the wet and I didn’t get a lot of running yesterday anyway. The race was tough; I had a good start which I’m pleased with but the conditions were difficult despite the pace being good. Towards the end when the rain fell heavier it was a case of just concentrating on bringing the car home.’