Edoardo Mortara opened a gap to the chasing pack in the F3 Euro Series by winning the opening Valencia race, while Kevin Magnussen won the second in his debut weekend as replacement for the GP3-bound Adrian Quaife-Hobbs.
Britain’s Alexander Sims was third in the opening race and fifth in the second, leaving him fourth overall in the title hunt behind Mortara, Marco Wittmann and Roberto Merhi.
He called it a “pretty average weekend”, adding: “I wasn’t fast enough in qualifying and then the races were very processional – literally no one overtook.”
Mortara had been fastest in qualifying, ahead of rookie Daniel Juncadella who has been impressive in qualifying all season. Sims’ team-mate Valtteri Bottas was third with Sims himself fourth and Wittmann fifth.
In race one Juncadella jumped the start and ended up at the back of the field after his penalty. Mortara was the clear leader from the outset and, although Bottas and Sims sometimes came close, he was never in danger of having to defend.
He said: “This circuit is relatively slow and there are hardly opportunities to overtake. So, when you have a good grid position, a good start and when you make no mistakes, it is difficult for those behind you.”
Bottas agreed, saying “We already lost the race in qualifying”, while Sims rued an error in the race: “Today, I am not as disappointed as yesterday. My speed in the race wasn’t bad, but unfortunately, I made a mistake and almost spun.”
Race two belonged to 17-year-old Magnussen, a McLaren development driver and son of ex-F1 pilot Jan, who took the lead at the start and built a winning margin of 10 seconds by the flag. It was his first weekend in the series, filling the seat at Motopark Academy that Britain’s Adrian Quaife-Hobbs had occupied until his GP3 debut.
The reversed grid and the poor prosepects for overtaking combined to put some unfamiliar faces at the front of the field, with Nicholas Marroc finishing second ahead of Laurens Vanthoor. Bottas, Sims and Mortara finished next.