Valtteri Bottas scored his third win from four GP3 Series races with a commanding victory in Race 1 at Spa-Francorchamps to extend his championship lead.
The Finn started from second on the grid, but passed ART teammate and polesitter James Calado for the lead around the outside of La Source. From there he pulled away to an eight second lead by the halfway point, before cruising to the checkered flag.
While Calado had a quiet race on his way to second, Nigel Melker and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs fought over third place during the first half of the race. Quaife-Hobbs passed Melker at La Source at the start of the race, before the duo exchanged positions several times over the following laps. Melker eventually kept hold of the position.
Alexander Sims put a lowly starting position of 16th behind him to climb to seventh on the opening lap, and was soon harrying Conor Daly for fifth. A few laps later he attempted to get a run on the young American into the Bus Stop chicane, only to spin at Blanchimont in the process. Though he lost no places in the incident itself he soon fell down the order and into retirement, with his team reporting steering issues.
Tom Dillmann inherited sixth behind Daly, with Nico Muller seventh and series debutant Richie Stanaway racing to a fine eighth place, picking up pole position for tomorrow morning's Race 2.
Bottas' victory extends his points lead to 11 points, with Calado now his nearest rival in second place. Despite Bottas extending his lead, the title race will now go down to the final round at Monza regardless of the Race 2 result.
Race 1 results – 12 laps:
|1||Valtteri Bottas||Lotus ART||31:02.902|
|2||James Calado||Lotus ART||6.495|
|3||Nigel Melker||RSC Mucke Motorsport||13.979|
|4||Adrian Quaife-Hobbs||Marussia Manor Racing||21.117|
|6||Tom Dillmann||Addax Team||34.338|
|7||Nico Muller||Jenzer Motorsport||40.898|
|8||Richie Stanaway||Lotus ART||43.583|
|9||Lewis Williamson||MW Arden||45.330|
|10||Ivan Lukashevich||Status Grand Prix||50.869|
|11||Mitch Evans||MW Arden||51.538|
|12||Rio Haryanto||Marussia Manor Racing||53.789|
|13||Aaro Vainio||Tech 1 Racing||61.520|
|14||Alex Fontana||Jenzer Motorsport||65.130|
|15||Michael Christensen||RSC Mucke Motorsport||66.596|
|16||Gabby Chaves||Addax Team||69.195|
|17||Tamas Pal Kiss||Tech 1 Racing||73.548|
|18||Matias Laine||Marussia Manor Racing||74.024|
|19||Simon Trummer||MW Arden||74.988|
|20||Dean Smith||Addax Team||80.817|
|22||Thomas Hylkema||Tech 1 Racing||109.087|
|Ret||Alexander Sims||Status Grand Prix||9 laps|
|Ret||Maxim Zimin||Jenzer Motorsport||9 laps|
|Ret||Marlon Stockinger||Atech CRS GP||6 laps|
|Ret||Daniel Mancinelli||RSC Mucke Motorsport||3 laps|
|Ret||Antonio Felix da Costa||Status Grand Prix||1 lap|
|Ret||Callum MacLeod||Carlin||1 lap|
|Ret||Nick Yelloly||Atech CRS GP||0 laps|
|Ret||Zoel Amberg||Atech CRS GP||0 laps|