GP3 Series

Nikita Mazepin Dominates Budapest GP3 Feature Race

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Nikita Mazepin: 2018 GP3 Series - Hungaroring
Credit: Zak Mauger/GP3 Series Media Service

Nikita Mazepin cruised to GP3 Series victory at the Hungaroring from second on the grid.

The Russian seized the advantage off the grid to take the race victory by over ten seconds to Campos Racing‘s Leonardo Pulcini.

Completing the top three was pole sitter Anthoine Hubert.

At the start of the race, pole sitter Hubert initially had got a good start but found himself swamped by Mazepin and Pulcini who reacted better in the latter stages.

In his first race for Trident, David Beckmann was putting in a strong performance as he battled Arden International‘s Joey Mawson for sixth place.

As out front, Mazepin was opening up his advantage over Pulcini – as the DRS was to be enabled on lap three as usual however no drivers used their allocation.

Beckmann, needing to push was on the rear of ART Grand Prix‘s Jake Hughes who had lost out to team-mate Callum Ilott at the start to be running in fifth place.

The Briton locked up into Turn 2 but Beckmann was not able to take advantage of the opportunity.

For a number of laps the pair duelled, with Joey Mawson and Beckmann’s team-mate Ryan Tveter closing in on the pair, with the German passing Hughes on lap eight to hunt down Ilott.

Hughes now had to watch Mawson in his mirrors whilst the Australian had his full of Tveter.

Pulcini, was intent on closing the gap to Mazepin in the lead which the Italian had cut to just under two seconds.

Meanwhile, the drivers running in sixth to twentieth each separated by around one each as a train began to form.

Beckmann was on a charge, having dropped Hughes by five and a half second the Trident caught and passed Ilott for fourth place.

Mawson was still over the rear of Hughes but the Briton defended hard to maintain his position ahead of the Aussie, who attempted a move into Turn 1 but was not able to make it stick.

On Lap 13, the DRS was re-enabled after an issue earlier in the race, but just two laps later it was once again deactivated due to an ongoing technical issue.

The Hughes-Mawson battle raged on but came to a head when they made contact which punctured Mawson’s tyre and broke Hughes’ wing.

As a result, Mawson had to retire as Hughes limped to the pits for a new front wing but tumbled down the to finish in sixteenth in the end.

The incident was investigated by the stewards but they deemed no further action was warranted.

Battles raged on all over the field with Silverstone Sprint Race winner Pedro Piquet too ending up with a broken wing but the Brazilian did not pit to replace it as he did not want to risk losing track position.

Niko Kari was forced to stop on track after a puncture which was caused in the incident with Piquet.

Dorian Boccolacci was running in eighth place, and therefore reverse grid pole for tomorrow’s Sprint Race, when he started coming under pressure from Diego Menchaca but the Mexican was unable to snatch the place off the Frenchman.

In the lead, Mazepin started to stretch his legs to break away from Pulcini.

Beckmann continued his charge and aimed to take third off of championship leader Hubert but the ART-man held on to the final podium place.

In the closing stages, Mazepin dropped the hammer to put himself almost seven seconds ahead of Pulcini with the gap only building.

Arden’s Gabriel Aubry having cruised passed Piquet for eleventh, dumped Tatiana Calderon out of the points, the Colombian fought back but the Frenchman retook the position to claim his first point in the GP3.

Heading into the final lap, Mazepin had an advantage of just over eight seconds on Pulcini which was almost ten and a half when the Russian crossed the finish line.

Elsewhere, Tveter took fifth off Ilott on the final lap. The Briton tried to come back at the American but locked up into Turn 2.

Managing to cruise to the finish, Mazepin took the second victory of his GP3 career.

Pulcini came home in second two seconds ahead of championship leader Hubert.

Having been hoping to impress in his first weekend for Trident, Beckmann claimed the best result of his rookie year with fourth ahead of team-mate Tveter.

It was a lonely sixth place in the ahead for Ilott, who remains in second in the championship 17 points behind Hubert.

Juan Manuel Correa was seventh as Boccolacci held onto eighth ahead of Menchaca.

Aubry completed the points finishers.

Devlin DeFrancesco did not take part in the race after being deemed unfit to race this weekend as a result of an illness.

The Sprint Race gets underway at 10.05 local time Sunday morning.

2018 GP3 Series Results: Hungaroring – Feature Race

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An NCTJ accredited Journalism Graduate covering DTM and the FIA Formula 3 Championship.
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