David Beckmann converted his maiden GP3 Series pole position into a maiden victory as he led from start to finish in the opening race of the weekend at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday morning.
In just his third start with Trident after joining the Italian outfit ahead of the previous round at the Hungaroring, Beckmann had a superb start to lead comfortably into the first turn, and the gap he pulled out on the opening lap as those behind him tripped over themselves was enough for him to be able to hang on and become the eighth different winner of 2018.
The Spa-Francorchamps circuit was damp in places throughout the race but all drivers started on the Medium compound slick tyre, but a slow start from fellow front row starter Anthoine Hubert ensured Beckmann retained the lead into turn one.
Exiting the opening turn, Pedro Piquet, from third on the grid, seemed to delay the ART Grand Prix quartet of Hubert, Jake Hughes, Nikita Mazepin and Callum Ilott, which in turn enabled Ryan Tveter to jump into second.
Tveter attempted to put pressure on his race leading team-mate but was only able to make use of his Drag Reduction System on a couple of occasions as Beckmann controlled the pace superbly, with the German winning by just over 1.3 seconds.
Hubert recovered from his slow start to jump ahead of Piquet on the opening lap to claim the final spot on the podium and coupled with setting the fastest lap of the race was able to extend his championship advantage over team-mate Ilott, who could only finish sixth.
Hughes also passed Piquet to run fourth but struggled over the closing laps, with the Brazilian returning the favour on the Briton to reclaim the position, before both Mazepin and Ilott, the latter on the final lap, found themselves ahead of Hughes, who came across the line in seventh.
Eighth was Australian racer Joey Mawson of Arden International, who held onto the ART’s ahead of him to ensure he took pole position for Sunday’s race, while Giuliano Alesi could not match the pace or performance of his Trident team-mates, coming home in ninth. Mawson did attack Hughes on the final lap at Les Combes but was took to the run-off, and almost hit Alesi as he returned to the track.
The final point went to Tatiana Calderón of Jenzer Motorsport, who came out on top of a battle that also involved her team-mate Juan Manuel Correa and Campos Racing’s Simo Laaksonen, the latter unable to hold onto a points finish despite Qualifying an excellent seventh on the grid.
Leonardo Pulcini’s poor weekend continued as he struggled home in fifteenth, with the Italian dropping from third to fourth in the championship standings as a result of his no-score.
Spa-Francorchamps Race 1 Result
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