GP3 Series

Mazepin Wins Final GP3 Race in Abu Dhabi As Correa Penalised

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Nikita Mazepin - 2018 GP3 Series - Abu Dhabi - Sprint Race
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

ART Grand Prix‘s Nikita Mazepin claimed the final GP3 Series victory at the Yas Marina Circuit.

The Russian, passed race long leader Juan Manuel Correa on the final lap but would have taken the win regardless as the American had been handed a penalty for failing to adhere to the VSC time.

As a result Jake Hughes was promoted to second with Simo Laaksonen claiming his first podium in the championship.

When the race started, Correa made a storming start to lead the pack into Turn 1 as Giuliano Alesi and Mazepin took advantage of the poor starting Hughes to sweep by.

However, the Briton managed to hold off Callum IlottDavid Beckmann, newly crowned champion Anthoine Hubert and Leonardo Pulcini.

From there, things quickly went downhill for Hubert as down the long back straight Beckmann was alongside the Frenchman were side-by-side and drifted right.

Pulcini then appeared on the other side of Hubert and wanted to hold his line.

Three does not go into one with Hubert squeezed in the middle as his and Beckmann’s suspensions were broken and the pair had to retire.

Elsewhere, Pedro Piquet spun Jannes Fittje at the marina and there was little option but to deploy the Virtual Safety Car.

When the racing resumed, Correa built a gap over Alesi, Mazepin, Hughes, Ilott and Laaksonen but the group were soon on top of each other.

The Frenchman was looking for a way through into the lead but Correa defended hard giving Mazepin a sniff at the position.

Mazepin, had to back off after running wide at the chicane and had to cut the corner.

News Correa and Alesi would not have wanted to hear reached the pair as they were handed five second penalties for speeding under the VSC destroying all their hard work.

On lap eight, Mazepin saw his opportunity at Turn 9 and sliced past Alesi with the Frenchman dropping further back as Ilott and Mazepin mugged him two laps later.

Mazepin, found a way through on Correa but ran deep into the marina chicane, running off track and handed the position back to the American.

As the laps counted down, Mazepin held station until the final lap slicing cleanly into the lead and pulling away.

Further back, Laaksonen mirrored his move by claiming fourth on track but to become third once Correa was penalised from Ilott.

At the line, Mazepin claimed the win he was denied yesterday to secure his place as vice-champion.

Hughes and Laaksonen completed the podium, with Ilott disappointed with fourth.

Ryan Tveter was fifth ahead of the penalised Correa, with Richard Verschoor and Tatiana Calderon rounding off the points positions.

With his penalty applied, Alesi ended tenth.

In the final season of the GP3 Series, Hubert was crowned champion with team-mates Mazepin and Ilott ending as the runners up.

ART Grand Prix, claimed their eighth Teams’ title in nine years ahead of Trident and Campos Racing.

The series now merges with the FIA European Formula 3 Championship and will be renamed the FIA Formula 3 International Championship.

Drivers will carry out testing for the new series next week.

2018 GP3 Series Results: Yas Marina Circuit – Sprint Race 

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*Five second penalty, failing to respect VSC time.

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