ART Grand Prix driver and Ferrari Driver Academy member Charles Leclerc brought himself one step closer to the GP3 Series title after pocketing his fourth pole of the campaign and the all important four bonus points. Joining him on the front row is team-mate and title rival Alexander Albon with Nyck de Vries completing the ART 1-2-3.
With GP3 making its maiden visit to the Sepang International Circuit, it was championship leader Leclerc who lead from the off before Albon improved on the Monegasque driver’s time to claim P1. The ART pairing were soon split as Arden International‘s Jake Dennis took over in the P2 spot with de Vries doing so soon after.
As most of the drivers returned to the pits to take on fresh rubber, Koiranen GP‘s Matthew Parry stayed out and in doing so put himself up to P2. De Vries then took his turn at sitting in provisional pole with eight minutes left on the session.
Dennis looked to return to the top of the pile – lighting up sectors 1 and 2 purple but failed to improve on his best overall lap time. Campos Racing‘s Alex Palou did manage to find some extra pace to go straight to the head of the timings – this was only briefly as Leclerc went fastest to retake the P1 spot.
Albon tried his best to better his team-mate but ultimately it was not enough, with de Vries ending up just being him. The top ten was completed by Jack Aitken, Palou, Nirei Fukuzumi, Arjun Maini, Sandy Stuvik, Dennis and Steijn Schothorst.
However, Fukuzumi has a three place grid penalty to serve following an incident with Leclerc at Monza which saw the championship leader have to retire from the race.
Additionally, following the end of the qualifying session it was found that Palou was in breach of Articles 4.3.12 and 4.1 of the GP3 Series regulations as the height of the underfloor was below the minimum and therefore has been excluded from qualifying and thus will start from the back of the grid.
The maiden GP3 race in Malaysia starts at 10.30 local time tomorrow.
Sepang International Circuit Qualifying Results
|1||1||Charles Leclerc||MON||ART Grand Prix||1m49.861|
|2||3||Alexander Albon||THA||ART Grand Prix||1m50.030|
|3||4||Nyck de Vries||NED||ART Grand Prix||1m50.192|
|4||11||Jack Aitken||GBR||Arden International||1m50.218|
|5||22||Alex Palou||ESP||Campos Racing||1m50.371|
|6||2||Nirei Fukuzumi||JPN||ART Grand Prix||1m50.430|
|7||20||Arjun Maini||IND||Jenzer Motorsport||1m50.503|
|9||9||Jake Dennis||GBR||Arden International||1m50.698|
|10||23||Steijn Schothorst||NED||Campos Racing||1m50.717|
|12||18||Akash Nandy||MAS||Jenzer Motorsport||1m50.749|
|13||14||Matthew Parry||GBR||Koiranen GP||1m50.781|
|15||19||Alessio Lorandi||ITA||Jenzer Motorsport||1m50.831|
|19||16||Matevos Isaakyan||RUS||Koiranen GP||1m51.426|
|20||10||Tatiana Calderon||COL||Arden International||1m51.456|
|21||24||Konstantin Tereschenko||RUS||Campos Racing||1m51.679|