Jerez GP3: Fukuzumi takes lights-to-flag race one victory at Jerez

Nirei Fukuzumi led from lights-to-flag to beat his ART Grand Prix team-mates George Russell and Jack Aitken to GP3 race one victory at Jerez

Jerez GP3: Fukuzumi takes lights-to-flag race one victory at Jerez

Mercedes Formula 1 junior Russell edged past Aitken, his closest challenger in the championship battle, on the first lap and won a tense scrap for second place.

Red Bull's Dan Ticktum finished fourth on his second GP3 weekend appearance.

At the start, Fukuzumi maintained his lead off the line while Russell immediately challenged Aitken, who started second, at Turn 1.

Russell got alongside going through the sweeping right-hander and stayed there on the short run to the Turn 2 hairpin, muscling his way by to seize second place.

That scrap allowed Fukuzumi to pull clear of the one-second DRS detection margin and he set about consolidating his advantage with a string of fastest laps in the early stages.

He eventually extended his lead to two seconds and while it fluctuated over the course of the 23-lap race, the Honda junior was never headed and secured his second win of the season - his first since the Barcelona opener - by 1.5s.

Russell extended his championship lead to 46 points over Aitken with second, leading home the three-way fight for the remaining podium places.

As he was out of DRS range of Fukuzumi, Russell could not use the overtaking aid to catch the leader or defend from Aitken behind.

Ticktum pressured Renault Academy member Aitken hard throughout the race - getting to within 0.4s around the halfway mark and again in the closing stages - but did not make a move.

The Briton, recently announced as McLaren Autosport BRDC award finalist, secured DAMS' best race one result of the 2017 season with fourth.

Anthoine Hubert, who at one stage closed in on the fight for second place, eventually finished 2.6s behind Ticktum in fifth.

Sixth went to Arden International's Niko Kari, who got by Dorian Boccolacci on the opening lap, with the pair holding station to the finish.

Alessio Lorandi - demoted from sixth to ninth on the grid after being found guilty of impeding Leonardo Pulcini in qualifying - looked to have eighth place and reverse grid pole for race two secured.

But Trident's Giuliano Alesi, who had been pressuring the Jenzer Motorsport driver throughout the race, took eighth on the final lap.

The pair appeared to make contact twice on the long straight approaching the downhill right of Turn 6, but Alesi held the inside line to seal the move.

Julien Falchero rounded out the top 10 ahead of Steijn Schothorst, Ryan Tveter and Tatiana Calderon and Pulcini.

Kevin Jorg, who skated across the gravel on the outside of Turn 5 after locking up on the approach to the long right-hander on the opening lap, recovered to the pits - spewing stones from his sidepods as he did so - and eventually brought up the rear of the field.

Race Result

Pos Driver Team Laps Gap
1 Nirei Fukuzumi ART Grand Prix 23 35m57.969s
2 George Russell ART Grand Prix 23 1.559s
3 Jack Aitken ART Grand Prix 23 3.128s
4 Dan Ticktum DAMS 23 5.459s
5 Anthoine Hubert ART Grand Prix 23 8.146s
6 Niko Kari Arden International 23 10.299s
7 Dorian Boccolacci Trident 23 12.514s
8 Alessio Lorandi Jenzer Motorsport 23 19.393s
9 Giuliano Alesi Trident 23 18.055s
10 Julien Falchero Campos Racing 23 19.984s
11 Steijn Schothorst Arden International 23 21.574s
12 Ryan Tveter Trident 23 21.869s
13 Tatiana Calderon DAMS 23 22.371s
14 Leonardo Pulcini Arden International 23 23.131s
15 Juan Manuel Correa Jenzer Motorsport 23 23.710s
16 Bruno Baptista DAMS 23 30.610s
17 Arjun Maini Jenzer Motorsport 23 31.203s
18 Marcos Siebert Campos Racing 23 1m09.306s
19 Raoul Hyman Campos Racing 23 1m20.941s
20 Kevin Jorg Trident 22 1 Lap


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Jerez GP3: Fukuzumi beats ART team-mates Aitken and Russell to pole

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