Nikita Mazepin claimed victory in the GP3 Series Feature Race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Circuit having started from second on the grid.
The Russian was joined on the podium by ART Grand Prix team-mates Anthoine Hubert and Callum Ilott.
On the formation lap it was discovered that Campos Racing‘s Simo Laaksonen still had a fan in his side pod and had to come into the pits to have it removed meaning he had to start from the pit-lane rather than the seventh place he qualified.
Pole-sitter Leonardo Pulcini had a slow getaway which allowed the ART trio to jump ahead of the Italian, fighting Ilott for third but the Briton maintained the position.
Behind, Niko Kari struggled off the grid and was going very slowly. The Finn was pushed into the pits with fluid leaking out of his car, his team tried to get him going but to no avail and had to retire from the race. Not the start MP Motorsport were hoping for in their first ever GP3 race.
Out front, Mazepin picked up the pace he had been showing in qualifying yesterday to open a one second gap over Hubert to clear himself of the DRS threat.
Hubert soon found himself falling into the clutches of Ilott behind, allowing Mazepin to extend his advantage ahead.
Around the midpoint of the race the Ferrari Driver Academy member, blasted around the outside of the new Renault Sport affiliated member to take second place from his team-mate.
The Briton too struggled to catch the Russian ahead, and found himself having the reverse of what he done to Hubert done to him by the Frenchman.
Jake Hughes, in the fourth ART, would not have enjoyed the race as much as his team-mates in the lead.
Having qualified down in eleventh place, the Briton was hoping to get himself into a strong position and potentially reverse grid pole for the race tomorrow.
The Briton had held the all important eighth place for most of the race but found himself embroiled in a battle with Alessio Lorandi.
Lorandi made a risky move on the ART into Turn 1, making contact with Hughes and taking a trip through the gravel. The Trident also went airborne after clipping the kerb on re-entry to the track.
At the front, despite his best efforts Hubert was not able to keep with Mazepin’s consistent pace in the lead with the Russian cruising to his maiden GP3 victory.
Ilott lost even more time to Hubert in the latter stages with Pulcini in fourth chasing him down. The Italian had temporarily fallen behind Dorian Boccolacci who completed the top five.
David Beckmann had been closing down Boccolacci having spent the race battling with those around him but could not find his way through the Frenchman to come home just two tenths of a second drift.
Trident’s Giuliano Alesi had been hoping to get involved with the Boccolacci-Beckmann battle but locked up a few times putting all hopes to bed.
American Juan Manuel Correa finished eighth for Jenzer Motorsport to claim the all important reverse grid pole for tomorrow’s Sprint Race.
Pedro Piquet rose to ninth late in the race, passing Diego Menchaca who finished tenth and Lorandi who had regained his footing after his off whilst battling Hughes.
Gabriel Aubry ended twelfth, ahead of Hughes who had lost all tyre grip at the end.
Julien Falchero was fourteenth, with Laaksonen fifteenth despite having to start from the pit-lane.
Australian Joey Mawson was sixteenth from Ryan Tveter and Will Palmer.
Tatiana Calderon and Kari were the only retirees.
The Sprint Race gets underway at 10.25 local time tomorrow with Correa on pole.
2018 GP3 Series: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya – Feature Race Results
|1||3||Nikita Mazepin||RUS||ART Grand Prix||34m53.480|
|2||2||Anthoine Hubert||FRA||ART Grand Prix||34m57.129|
|3||1||Callum Ilott||GBR||ART Grand Prix||35m00.623|
|4||18||Leonardo Pulcini||ITA||Campos Racing||35m01.512|
|5||22||Dorian Boccolacci||FRA||MP Motorsport||35m06.030|
|6||11||David Beckmann||GER||Jenzer Motorsport||35m06.270|
|8||10||Juan Manuel Correa||USA||Jenzer Motorsport||35m12.923|
|10||20||Diego Menchaca||MEX||Campos Racing||35m17.001|
|12||14||Gabriel Aubry||FRA||Arden International||35m20.026|
|13||4||Jake Hughes||GBR||ART Grand Prix||35m27.808|
|14||15||Julien Falchero||FRA||Arden International||35m27.964|
|15||19||Simo Laaksonen||FIN||Campos Racing||35m30.108|
|16||16||Joey Mawson||AUS||Arden International||35m31.232|
|18||23||Will Palmer||GBR||MP Motorsport||35m36.688|
|DNF||9||Tatiana Calderon||COL||Jenzer Motorsport||DNF|
|DNF||24||Niko Kari||FIN||MP Motorsport||DNF|