Abu Dhabi GP3: Title contender Mazepin on pole, rival Hubert third

Nikita Mazepin cut his GP3 Series deficit to ART Grand Prix team-mate and championship rival Anthoine Hubert to 28 points with a dramatic pole position in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi GP3: Title contender Mazepin on pole, rival Hubert third

The Russian driver had been largely anonymous for the majority of the session, but crossed the line ahead of Hubert to put the pressure on with a 1m54.885s.

Renault Formula 1 junior Hubert passed the line two cars later and was 0.1 seconds slower, meaning he'll start Saturday's feature race in third behind his championship threat and Campos Racing's Leo Pulcini.

Pulcini had topped a large part of qualifying and had gone into the session in a confident mood despite gearbox trouble at the end of practice.

He led before the final runs and only Mazepin's improvement was enough to beat him.

Hubert can still seal the title in the first race on Saturday.

If Mazepin wins and takes two points for fastest lap, a second place for Hubert would settle the championship.

It was Mazepin's first pole of the season, as he was disqualified from pole last time out in Russia due to a breach of track limits.

It means Mazepin is the last GP3 polesitter as the series becomes the FIA F3 Championship next year, remaining on the F1 support bill.

Brits Jake Hughes and Callum Ilott made sure all four ART cars were in the top five, Ilott rebounding from being at the foot of the order in practice but grappling with a brake problem carried over from the last round at Sochi. Both had strong races in the Macau Grand Prix last week.

David Beckmann has been the form-man of late, but could only manage sixth in the order and top Trident Racing car, ahead of his team-mate Giuliano Alesi - who went purple in all three sectors in practice, but couldn't replicate that dominance in qualifying.

Ryan Tveter completed a three-car Trident train in eighth, ahead of Simo Laaksonen (Campos) and Juan Manuel Correa (Jenzer).

Despite setting the fourth fastest time in practice, Jehan Daruvala could only manage 15th in qualifying on his GP3 Series race-weekend debut, while Arden's strong practice pace only yielded a best spot of 16th with Gabriel Aubry.

Qualifying result

Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1 Nikita Mazepin ART Grand Prix 1m54.885s -
2 Leonardo Pulcini Campos Racing 1m54.952s 0.067s
3 Anthoine Hubert ART Grand Prix 1m55.041s 0.156s
4 Jake Hughes ART Grand Prix 1m55.068s 0.183s
5 Callum Ilott ART Grand Prix 1m55.098s 0.213s
6 David Beckmann Trident 1m55.178s 0.293s
7 Giuliano Alesi Trident 1m55.345s 0.460s
8 Ryan Tveter Trident 1m55.511s 0.626s
9 Simo Laaksonen Campos Racing 1m55.525s 0.640s
10 Juan Manuel Correa Jenzer Motorsport 1m55.535s 0.650s
11 Pedro Piquet Trident 1m55.589s 0.704s
12 Richard Verschoor MP Motorsport 1m55.597s 0.712s
13 Jannes Fittje Jenzer Motorsport 1m55.782s 0.897s
14 Tatiana Calderon Jenzer Motorsport 1m55.789s 0.904s
15 Jehan Daruvala MP Motorsport 1m55.828s 0.943s
16 Gabriel Aubry Arden International 1m55.836s 0.951s
17 Diego Menchaca Campos Racing 1m55.914s 1.029s
18 Sacha Fenestraz Arden International 1m55.985s 1.100s
19 Devlin Defrancesco MP Motorsport 1m56.142s 1.257s
20 Joey Mawson Arden International 1m56.276s 1.391s


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

Previous article

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

Next article

Anthoine Hubert claims last GP3 title, Leo Pulcini wins race one

Anthoine Hubert claims last GP3 title, Leo Pulcini wins race one
Load comments

About this article

Series FIA F3
Drivers Nikita Mazepin , Anthoine Hubert
Author Jack Benyon
How two F3 stars face new challenges from very different perspectives Plus

How two F3 stars face new challenges from very different perspectives

ART Grand Prix team-mates Frederik Vesti and Juan Manuel Correa's paths to the 2021 FIA Formula 3 Championship grid couldn’t have been further apart, but both are using the same focus for different goals

Why Correa's return is the feelgood story racing needed Plus

Why Correa's return is the feelgood story racing needed

Juan Manuel Correa has had a long road to recovery from that horrific day at Spa in 2019. ART's decision to give him his race return in FIA Formula 3 in 2021 is a victory in itself, but his determination will surely - in time - have him fighting for bigger things

FIA F3
Feb 2, 2021
Why Piastri's F3 title was better than results suggested Plus

Why Piastri's F3 title was better than results suggested

F3 rookie Oscar Piastri only just snatched the 2020 title with Prema Racing, but the setbacks he overcame to do so suggest that Renault's next Australian talent is one destined for the top

FIA F3
Jan 12, 2021
The ground-effect wonder behind a generation of F1 stars Plus

The ground-effect wonder behind a generation of F1 stars

Recently named as Autosport's greatest single-seater, Ralt's RT3 launched a plethora of superstar drivers through the early 1980s, and established the constructor as the go-to place for your single-seater weapon

FIA F3
Dec 8, 2020
The Macau GP's greatest moments Plus

The Macau GP's greatest moments

Coronavirus restrictions mean this weekend's Macau GP will have a very different feel, with the usual F3 jamboree replaced by Chinese F4. But in past years, the event has provided some seminal moments in the careers of future world champions

FIA F3
Nov 20, 2020
Rating the prospects of the 2020 F3 title contenders Plus

Rating the prospects of the 2020 F3 title contenders

With the title race finely poised ahead of the final triple-header, a category returnee who raced George Russell in his F3 days lends Autosport his thoughts on the ones to watch

FIA F3
Aug 25, 2020
Why "whirlwind" Tauranac's legacy will stand the test of time Plus

Why "whirlwind" Tauranac's legacy will stand the test of time

The passing of Ralt boss Ron Tauranac last week drew tributes from around the world, not least from the bosses of three prominent teams on whom the Australian designer made a lasting impression

FIA F3
Jul 24, 2020
The young driver Red Bull couldn't ignore Plus

The young driver Red Bull couldn't ignore

Igor Fraga has a more colourful career behind him than any other driver on the FIA Formula 3 grid, and now he's beginning to become as recognised for his talents in real racing as in the virtual world

FIA F3
Jun 21, 2020