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
|1||3||Nikita Mazepin||RUS||ART Grand Prix||27:45.477|
|2||2||Anthoine Hubert||FRA||ART Grand Prix||+1.840|
|3||1||Callum Ilott||GBR||ART Grand Prix||+4.658|
|4||4||Jake Hughes||GBR||ART Grand Prix||+9.338|
|7||22||Richard Verschoor||NED||MP Motorsport||+19.250|
|9||9||Tatiana Calderon||COL||Jenzer Motorsport||+24.751|
|10||10||Juan Manuel Correa||USA||Jenzer Motorsport||+24.880|
|11||14||Gabriel Aubry||FRA||Arden International||+26.476|
|12||24||Niko Kari||FIN||MP Motorsport||+28.465|
|13||19||Simo Laaksonen||FIN||Campos Racing||+32.841|
|14||15||Julien Falchero||FRA||Arden International||+34.298|
|15||11||Jannes Fittje||GER||Jenzer Motorsport||+34.563|
|16||20||Diego Menchaca||MEX||Campos Racing||+36.020|
|17/RET||16||Joey Mawson||AUS||Arden International||Retired|
|RET||23||Devlin DeFrancesco||CAN||MP Motorsport||Retired|
|RET||18||Leonardo Pulcini||ITA||Campos Racing||Retired|
|DNS||8||David Beckmann||GER||Trident||Did Not Start|