F1Weekly podcast # 521

F1weekly podcast number 521

Motorsports Mondial with Nasir Hameed

Steve Falb takes over whilst Clark remains in France

No post-holiday hangover for Alex Lynn

Alex Lynn is the current leader in the Formula Renault 2.0 UK, and if his early form at Silverstone is anything go by, he could be in for a good weekend on home soil. The Fortec Motorsports man made an impressive start to the meeting, finishing as the day’s strongest performer ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr. (Koiranen Motorsport) and Robin Frijns (Josef Kaufmann Racing). Stoffel Vandoorne was the fastest man on the track in the morning session, and he will certainly be one of the drivers to watch this weekend.

In bright sunshine at Silverstone, it was down to the drivers in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 to kick off the weekend’s action. The famous track was still damp in places as the championship hopefuls set out for a day of collective testing. Several drivers were returning to action after their summer holidays, with Ed Jones (Fortec Motorsports) the only new face in the field. Jones, originally from Dubai, has already appeared in the Formula Renault 2.0 UK, but he was making his debut in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0.

The morning session was interrupted very early on, after Interwetten.com Junior Team driver Sandy Stuvik went off the track. The action resumed shortly after the incident, however, and Daniil Kvyat, Carlos Sainz Jr. and championship leader Robin Frijns wasted no time in making their presence felt. Frijns held the edge over the Koiranen Motorsport pair at the session’s mid-point with a flying lap of 2:09.995. Some impressive times were clocked thereafter, and it was Stoffel Vandoorne – buoyed by a successful summer in the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC – who took control of the session with a time of 2:09.773.

The drivers became stronger as the track surface improved, and the lead continued to change hands right into the last minutes of what was an action-packed session. Frijns was the first driver to record a time below 2:06, and he will no doubt have been confident of finishing the session on top. However, he found himself upstaged right at the end of the morning session, first by Sainz Jr and then by Vandoorne. It was Vandoorne, with a time of 2:04.557, who finished the first collective testing session on top, followed by Henrique Martins (Cram Compétition) and Oscar Andres Tunjo (Josef Kaufman Racing).

The pace picked up considerably at the start of the afternoon session. Sainz Jr. briefly held the fastest time of the day with a lap of 2:01.529, but this appeared to spark Frijns into life. Indeed, the Dutchman responded with a flying lap of 2:01.286. At this point, Formula Renault 2.0 UK leader Alex Lynn weighed in by setting the third fastest lap of the day. The British driver eclipsed Frijns’ effort with a lap of 2:00.972 and moved up into first, only to see Paul-Loup Chatin (Tech 1 Racing) come out with an even better time. Lynn left it until the dying stages of the session to make is final attempt, and recorded a time of 1:59.293 to finish the day in front, ahead of Frijns, Vandoorne, Kvyat and fellow Brit Will Stevens.

What they said:

Stoffel Vandoorne: “We did a good job over the two sessions and we’re in the mix. I didn’t really have a summer break, as we had two rounds of the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC to compete in. I managed three podium finishes in four races. I’ve already finished on the podium this season, and now I want to win.”

Will Stevens: “It’s a real pleasure to be driving on home soil, especially at Silverstone, which is my favourite circuit. We still have work to do and there’s still room to improve our car, but we’re on a good pace. After my performance in Hungary, I really need to score a lot of points. It was a bad weekend, but that’s the way it is. We now need to bounce back, and to do that we absolutely need two very good results here.”