Dutchman Nyck de Vries was victorious at the Yas Marina Circuit in what was a chaotic race but all eyes were on his team-mate Charles Leclerc who was crowned as the seventh GP3 Series champions despite the fact he did not finish the race.
Joining de Vries on the podium was the Arden International pairing of Jake Dennis and Jack Aitken.
ART Grand Prix driver Alexander Albon started from pole position and made a good getaway to maintain the lead. Dennis, who started alongside him, had a sluggish start and lost several positions – promoting Aitken and de Vries. The quartet remained glued together for the opening lap, with Leclerc hanging back in fifth place before he was passed by DAMS‘ Santino Ferrucci at the end of the lap.
In second place Aitken was pressurising Albon posting the fastest lap. The safety car was briefly deployed after Tatiana Calderon spun to a stop at Turn 1. As racing got back underway the Thai driver controlled his getaway from the Briton but the Arden driver stuck with him and the pair endured a battle for a number of corners with Aitken coming out on top.
Albon knew he had to get back into the lead as it was vital of keeping his chances of being in the title fight alive. Disaster struck on lap 11 when the ART driver ran wide over the kerb causing his car to go airborne and making contact with Aitken. Albon’s race was over. Leclerc was champion.
De Vries was promoted to the lead of the race after spending the large majority of it fending off Dennis.
Ferrucci was battling with Leclerc to maintain the final podium spot ahead of the Monegasque driver – however, contact was made between the pair which resulted in the latter having a puncture and having to retire – luckily for him the job in terms of the championship was done.
Aitken soon fought his way past the American driver to take the final spot on the rostrum after a feisty battle, with the DAMS driver being issued a 10s penalty for forcing the Brit off of the track.
Behind the trio of de Vries, Dennis and Aitken the top ten was completed by: Kevin Jörg (his best result in the series to date), Nirei Fukuzumi, Steijn Schothorst, Jake Hughes, Konstantin Tereschenko (also his best result), Ferrucci and Alex Palou.
The 2016 GP3 Series draws to a close with the Sprint Race getting underway at 13.00 local time with Tereschenko starting from reverse grid pole with Hughes alongside him.
Yas Marina Circuit Race 1 Results
|1||4||Nyck de Vries||NED||ART Grand Prix||38m06.651|
|2||9||Jake Dennis||GBR||Arden International||38m07.663|
|3||11||Jack Aitken||GBR||Arden International||38m10.532|
|5||2||Nirei Fukuzumi||JPN||ART Grand Prix||38m17.269|
|6||23||Steijn Schothorst||NED||Campos Racing||38m21.020|
|8||24||Konstantin Tereschenko||RUS||Campos Racing||38m23.943|
|10||22||Alex Palou||ESP||Campos Racing||38m27.427|
|12||19||Alessio Lorandi||ITA||Jenzer Motorsport||38m32.913|
|13||18||Akash Nandy||MAS||Jenzer Motorsport||38m32.986|
|14||20||Arjun Maini||IND||Jenzer Motorsport||38m33.976|
|17||1||Charles Leclerc||MON||ART Grand Prix||DNF|
|18||16||Matevos Isaakyan||RUS||Koiranen GP||DNF|
|19||3||Alexander Albon||THA||ART Grand Prix||DNF|
|20||10||Tatiana Calderon||COL||Arden International||DNF|
|21||14||Matthew Parry||GBR||Koiranen GP||DNF|