Abu Dhabi GP3: Giuliano Alesi fastest in last ever practice session

Trident driver Giuliano Alesi topped the last practice session of the GP3 Series era, as ART Grand Prix title rivals Anthoine Hubert and Nikita Mazepin struggled on qualifying-style laps

Abu Dhabi GP3: Giuliano Alesi fastest in last ever practice session

Alesi set a barnstorming lap late on, fastest in all three sectors including the all important technical final sector to end what has been a rollercoaster for the son of ex-Formula 1 driver Jean.

He will be the last ever practice-topper, as the series becomes FIA Formula 3 for next year, with a new car launched in the Abu Dhabi paddock the previous day.

David Beckmann, Alesi's Trident team-mate, punched in a purple first sector on his last flying run, but the rest of the lap was not good enough to oust Alesi and he had to settle for second.

Rounding out the top three was Gabriel Aubry, in a brilliant session for Arden.

The team has struggled in GP3 this year, but Frenchman Aubry - who also competes in the World Endurance Championship - was joined by Joey Mawson in fifth and Sacha Fenestraz in sixth.

Mawson topped the early running in a bid to sign off the season in style with sponsors in attendance, while Fenestraz is in his second GP3 race weekend having switched from European Formula 3 for Sochi in September.

Behind Aubry and ahead of the the other Arden runners was GP3 race weekend debutant Jehan Daruvala for MP Motorsport.

He too has competed in European F3 this year, but did drive the GP3 car at this track with the same team in the post-season test last year.

Leonardo Pulcini briefly held the fastest time inside the last 20 minutes, but was usurped when a number of drivers came out to improve their laps and he had to settle for seventh, ahead of Hubert.

He had massive understeer at Turn 2 on his final rapid run at the end of the session, while Mazepin - who trails Hubert by 32 points heading into the weekend - locked up and binned his lap at Turn 17 coming into the penultimate tight complex, leaving him 13th.

Behind Hubert, Devlin de Francesco and Richard Verschoor joined Daruvala to make it three MP cars in the top 10.

Callum Ilott - third in the championship but out of title contention - could only manage 19th despite completing 16 laps.

Practice times

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Giuliano Alesi Trident 1m55.676s - 18
2 David Beckmann Trident 1m56.568s 0.892s 12
3 Gabriel Aubry Arden International 1m56.568s 0.892s 18
4 Jehan Daruvala MP Motorsport 1m56.589s 0.913s 20
5 Joey Mawson Arden International 1m56.655s 0.979s 17
6 Sacha Fenestraz Arden International 1m57.053s 1.377s 18
7 Leonardo Pulcini Campos Racing 1m57.116s 1.440s 16
8 Anthoine Hubert ART Grand Prix 1m57.170s 1.494s 16
9 Devlin Defrancesco MP Motorsport 1m57.170s 1.494s 18
10 Richard Verschoor MP Motorsport 1m57.259s 1.583s 18
11 Ryan Tveter Trident 1m57.277s 1.601s 15
12 Jake Hughes ART Grand Prix 1m57.311s 1.635s 17
13 Nikita Mazepin ART Grand Prix 1m57.393s 1.717s 16
14 Juan Manuel Correa Jenzer Motorsport 1m57.453s 1.777s 17
15 Diego Menchaca Campos Racing 1m57.579s 1.903s 18
16 Simo Laaksonen Campos Racing 1m57.588s 1.912s 17
17 Pedro Piquet Trident 1m57.727s 2.051s 15
18 Tatiana Calderon Jenzer Motorsport 1m57.826s 2.150s 18
19 Callum Ilott ART Grand Prix 1m57.847s 2.171s 16
20 Jannes Fittje Jenzer Motorsport 1m58.579s 2.903s 17


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Series FIA F3
Drivers Giuliano Alesi
Author Jack Benyon
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