Following a dramatic first race at the Formula Renault 3.5 season opener in Monza, Will Stevens appeared relieved as he celebrated his maiden series win for Strakka Racing.

The Caterham Racing Academy driver admitted his victory has "been a long time coming" as he enters his third consecutive FR3.5 title charge. The twenty-two-year-old led from the first corner, capitalising on the misfortunes of pole-sitter Carlos Sainz Jr to jump three places. The Spaniard suffered a suspected gearbox failure, forcing him to start his race from the pit lane.

Speaking after his podium celebration, Stevens acknowledged that his previous racing experience helped him remain composed as the DAMS of Sainz Jr was pushed to the back of the grid.

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"I have worked a lot on the starts and today it paid off", he said. "It is the best way to begin the championship, as opposed to last year", he admits referencing his retirement at the same event in 2013.

Despite his success so far in Monza, the British racer remained realistic noting that there is still room for improvement in his overall performance. Indeed, Strakka Racing's most experience driver is yet to secure a pole position in the series, something he hopes to rectify soon.

"After the safety car period, I pushed the pace to build a gap", he said. "We now have to work on our single lap pace".