Bottas Wins Again To Extend Championship Lead

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:

Pos Driver Team Time/Gap
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
5 Conor Daly Carlin 24.915
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
21 Leonardo Cordeiro Carlin 87.518
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