GP3 Sochi: Pulcini gets his first win, Mazepin boosts title hopes

Campos Racing's Leonardo Pulcini took a maiden GP3 Series victory in Sochi, as Racing Point Force India Formula 1 junior Nikita Mazepin cut the points deficit to leader Anthoine Hubert

GP3 Sochi: Pulcini gets his first win, Mazepin boosts title hopes

Pulcini benefitted from pole position, which was awarded to him overnight when erstwhile polesitter Mazepin had his qualifying lap struck off for a track limits infringement.

The Italian converted a second pole in his GP3 career to victory, ending a recent barren run which included a gearbox problem in Monza and a broken radiator after his car ingested a visor tear-off at Spa.

Hubert had moved up to second by lap five, having despatched team-mate Callum Ilott earlier.

Mazepin had moved ahead of team-mate Ilott in the drivers' standings with the four points for pole, but that was lost with the qualifying-lap deletion that would then set-up an epic battle.

Mazepin had to fight through from eighth on the grid but was soon in the battle for the podium spots with Ilott and Alesi.

The key move came at quarter distance, when Mazepin attacked Ilott and took the position. Mazepin went off the track at the inside of Turn 2 during the move but the stewards decided no further action was necessary.

While Mazepin was off on the inside, Ilott ran wide on the outside and after that, he and Alesi began to fall down the order.

Mazepin showed real pace in the second half of the contest, reeling in Hubert to pass him on the last lap with DRS to cut the points gap to 24 with three races to go.

Behind Hubert, Richard Verschoor was a brilliant fourth in his third race weekend in GP3. The MP Motorsport driver started seventh and was brilliant under braking, allowing him to make passes and move forward.

He did leave the track at Turn 2 passing Jake Hughes for the fourth spot, but no further action was taken.

Fifth from 10th was successful for Hughes, while winner and poleman for the last two races, David Beckmann, was brilliant in turning 15th into fifth.

Hughes was passed by Simo Laaksonen late on. The latter hit Ryan Tveter at the start and briefly fell back before working his way back into the top six ahead of Hughes.

Joey Mawson takes the all important eighth place for the reversed-grid pole, with the Jenzers of Juan Manuel Correa and Tatiana Calderon rounding out the top 10.

Ilott fell to 13th, in a nightmare race which all but ends his chances of the championship. He now trails Hubert by 44 points.

Race result - 20 laps

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Leonardo Pulcini Campos Racing Dallara/Mecachrome 38m56.960s
2 Nikita Mazepin ART Grand Prix Dallara/Mecachrome 3.955s
3 Anthoine Hubert ART Grand Prix Dallara/Mecachrome 7.037s
4 Richard Verschoor MP Motorsport Dallara/Mecachrome 8.314s
5 David Beckmann Trident Dallara/Mecachrome 12.631s
6 Simo Laaksonen Campos Racing Dallara/Mecachrome 13.442s
7 Jake Hughes ART Grand Prix Dallara/Mecachrome 14.198s
8 Joey Mawson Arden International Dallara/Mecachrome 24.084s
9 Juan Manuel Correa Jenzer Motorsport Dallara/Mecachrome 25.503s
10 Tatiana Calderon Jenzer Motorsport Dallara/Mecachrome 31.565s
11 Gabriel Aubry Arden International Dallara/Mecachrome 31.973s
12 Jannes Fittje Jenzer Motorsport Dallara/Mecachrome 33.156s
13 Callum Ilott ART Grand Prix Dallara/Mecachrome 35.793s
14 Giuliano Alesi Trident Dallara/Mecachrome 36.222s
15 Pedro Piquet Trident Dallara/Mecachrome 37.714s
16 Sacha Fenestraz Arden International Dallara/Mecachrome 38.412s
17 Devlin Defrancesco MP Motorsport Dallara/Mecachrome 39.357s
18 Ryan Tveter Trident Dallara/Mecachrome 1 Lap
- Diego Menchaca Campos Racing Dallara/Mecachrome Retirement

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About this article

Series FIA F3
Drivers Nikita Mazepin , Leonardo Pulcini
Author Jack Benyon
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