Monza GP3: Piquet defeats Ferrari junior Alesi in epic battle

Pedro Piquet won the contest of the GP3 season in the Monza sprint, after a race-long battle with Ferrari Academy driver Giuliano Alesi, with 2.6 seconds covering the top six

Trident team-mates Alesi and Piquet - watched on by ex-Formula 1 driver fathers Jean and Nelson - duelled for the entirety of the race after both jumped polesitter Richard Verschoor.

The key move came on the penultimate lap, when Alesi locked up into the first chicane while leading and then had to watch Piquet with a huge run on him in his mirrors.

Piquet got alongside at the Curva Grande, and despite putting his left-hand wheels on the grass - he held on to the inside to divebomb Alesi into the Roggia chicane.

Alesi came back at him but couldn't retake the place as the pair secured a Trident 1-2 and a clean sweep of GP3 victories for the team at home, after it had won the feature race with David Beckmann.

Alesi had executed what looked like the overtake of the season on lap one around the outside of the Parabolica, but a safety car for a crash between Juan Manuel Correa and Gabriel Aubry meant he couldn't complete the move on Piquet.

Alesi took the lead on lap eight of the 17, though the two Trident drivers swapped positions again four laps later in a brilliant race.

Callum Ilott made it two Ferrari drivers in the top three with a late pass on the fast-starting Anthoine Hubert.

Championship leader Hubert threatened to pass Alesi and Piquet but never got quite close enough to complete a move, and also had to watch for ART team-mate and title rival Ilott.

Hubert held on when he locked-up into the Rettifilo with six laps to go, but three laps later Ilott took the spot.

Fellow ART driver Nikita Mazepin was clipped at the start by Hubert, and then spent most of the race close behind his team-mates.

The team's fourth man Jake Hughes - still struggling to understand the Pirelli tyres in races - drove from ninth to sixth, with a stunning pass on Beckmann the highlight on the penultimate lap.

He went around the outside into the first part of the Roggia chicane, which became the inside at the right-hander, and Beckmann had to yield seventh.

Beckmann had used the run-off at the first chicane too many times, hurting his chances.

Tatiana Calderon - who struggled with tyre pressures in the feature race, finishing 15th from her best qualifying of the season in eighth - drove excellently to take eighth on Sunday.

She was followed by Saturday second-row starter Leonardo Pulcini - up from 14th after a gearbox issue spoiled his feature race - and Simo Laaksonen.

Sprint race result

Pos Driver Team Laps Gap
1 Pedro Piquet Trident 17 33m01.677s
2 Giuliano Alesi Trident 17 0.419s
3 Nikita Mazepin ART Grand Prix 17 2.603s
4 Jake Hughes ART Grand Prix 17 2.841s
5 David Beckmann Trident 17 3.382s
6 Tatiana Calderon Jenzer Motorsport 17 6.756s
7 Leonardo Pulcini Campos Racing 17 9.071s
8 Simo Laaksonen Campos Racing 17 9.643s
9 Richard Verschoor MP Motorsport 17 10.153s
10 Niko Kari MP Motorsport 17 12.260s
11 Jannes Fittje Jenzer Motorsport 17 16.224s
12 Joey Mawson Arden International 17 18.214s
13 Julien Falchero Arden International 17 21.294s
14 Diego Menchaca Campos Racing 17 25.674s
15 Devlin Defrancesco MP Motorsport 17 35.571s
16 Ryan Tveter Trident 17 1m07.656s
- Callum Ilott ART Grand Prix 17 Disqualified
- Anthoine Hubert ART Grand Prix 17 Disqualified
- Juan Manuel Correa Jenzer Motorsport 0 Retirement
- Gabriel Aubry Arden International 0 Retirement

Drivers' standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Anthoine Hubert 176
2 Nikita Mazepin 147
3 Callum Ilott 147
4 Pedro Piquet 106
5 Leonardo Pulcini 101
6 David Beckmann 92
7 Giuliano Alesi 92
8 Jake Hughes 61
9 Ryan Tveter 61
10 Dorian Boccolacci 58
11 Alessio Lorandi 42
12 Juan Manuel Correa 26
13 Joey Mawson 22
14 Simo Laaksonen 16
15 Tatiana Calderon 6
16 Niko Kari 6
17 Richard Verschoor 6
18 Diego Menchaca 3
19 Gabriel Aubry 1
20 Julien Falchero 0
21 Devlin Defrancesco 0
22 Jannes Fittje 0
23 Christian Lundgaard 0
24 Will Palmer 0

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