Mazepin Leads ART Grand Prix Domination at Spa-Francorchamps

by Paul Hensby
Nikita Mazepin - ART Grand Prix - Spa-Francorchamps

Nikita Mazepin took his third victory of the 2018 GP3 Series season as he led home an ART Grand Prix 1-2-3-4 at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday morning.

Starting fourth on the grid, the Russian driver was in the lead by the end of lap four as he first took advantage of an off-track moment from team-mate Callum Ilott to take third, before following Jake Hughes in passing polesitter Joey Mawson on lap three to claim second.

A lap later he was in the lead as he drafted passed Hughes on the Kemmel Straight, a lead he was not to lose throughout the thirteen-lap event, although behind him, his ART Grand Prix team-mates fought one-another for the other spots on the podium as Mawson’s challenge faded dramatically as the Arden International driver struggled with his tyres.

Ultimately second place went the way of Anthoine Hubert from sixth on the grid, with the Frenchman passing Trident’s Pedro Piquet on lap four before jumping to fourth a lap later as Mawson’s fall through the field continued.  It was lap eight when Hughes fell behind Hubert, but the Frenchman was not done there, catching and passing Ilott for second with two laps remaining.

Ilott had earlier displaced Hughes for second but falling behind Hubert will hurt more, particularly in the championship battle, with twenty-five points between them heading into the final three rounds and six races of the campaign.

Hughes will be the most disappointed of the ART Grand Prix quartet after finishing off the podium in fourth, while Piquet took fifth in the leading of the Trident cars ahead of team-mate Giuliano Alesi.

Richard Verschoor, making only his second start in the GP3 Series after debuting just twenty-four hours previously, drove superbly to score his first points in the championship for MP Motorsport, advancing ten places from his grid slot to claim seventh, while Ryan Tveter held off the spirited late-race challenge from Tatiana Calderón to claim the final point for Trident.

Race one winner David Beckmann failed to start the second race after appearing to suffer a mechanical problem on the formation lap to the grid, while Leonardo Pulcini’s weekend went from bad to worse, with the Campos Racing driver suffering a pointless weekend after failing to finish.

After starting from pole position, Mawson fell down the order and dropped to the very rear of the field before he pitted with his tyres completed shot.  He was classified a lapped seventeenth, ahead only of the three retirees of Beckmann, Pulcini and Devlin DeFrancesco.

Spa-Francorchamps Race 2 Result

13Nikita MazepinRUSART Grand Prix27:45.477
22Anthoine HubertFRAART Grand Prix+1.840
31Callum IlottGBRART Grand Prix+4.658
44Jake HughesGBRART Grand Prix+9.338
55Pedro PiquetBRZTrident+11.027
66Giuliano AlesiFRATrident+12.104
722Richard VerschoorNEDMP Motorsport+19.250
87Ryan TveterUSATrident+24.363
99Tatiana CalderonCOLJenzer Motorsport+24.751
1010Juan Manuel CorreaUSAJenzer Motorsport+24.880
1114Gabriel AubryFRAArden International+26.476
1224Niko KariFINMP Motorsport+28.465
1319Simo LaaksonenFINCampos Racing+32.841
1415Julien FalcheroFRAArden International+34.298
1511Jannes FittjeGERJenzer Motorsport+34.563
1620Diego MenchacaMEXCampos Racing+36.020
17/RET16Joey MawsonAUSArden InternationalRetired
RET23Devlin DeFrancescoCANMP MotorsportRetired
RET18Leonardo PulciniITACampos RacingRetired
DNS8David BeckmannGERTridentDid Not Start

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