Spa GP3: Esteban Ocon wins for ART after three virtual safety cars

Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon picked up his second GP3 win of the season in an incident-filled race one at Spa that included three virtual safety cars

Spa GP3: Esteban Ocon wins for ART after three virtual safety cars

Ocon made the perfect start and capitalised on polesitter and title rival Luca Ghiotto's poor getaway.

Arden International team-mates Emil Bernstorff and Kevin Ceccon also jumped Ghiotto at the start, leaving the Trident driver down in fourth on the opening lap.

Ocon controlled the majority of the race but on the restart after the second virtual safety car period the ART man reacted too early and left Ghiotto behind, though no further action was taken during the event.

NEWS UPDATE: Ocon penalised, Bernstorff gets win

The reigning European Formula 3 champion also had to contend with a two-lap sprint to the finish following the third safety car period.

Ghiotto was caught napping and fell back behind Bernstorff, who then made numerous overtaking attempts that Ocon was able to resist.

Meanwhile the points leader ended up finishing down in sixth after picking up a five-second time penalty for a collision with Kevin Ceccon.

The pair made contact on the exit of the Bus Stop chicane, which gave Ceccon a slow puncture that did not manifest itself until Eau Rouge.

Ghiotto's penalty promoted Marvin Kirchhofer to third place.

The ART Grand Prix driver, who started down in sixth following a three-place grid penalty for blocking, made a good start but lost a place to Antonio Fuoco as he was forced across the escape road at Les Combes.

He ended up finishing ahead of Fuoco and Koiranen GP driver Jimmy Eriksson.

Eriksson picked up a drive-through penalty for jumping the start but served his penalty under the virtual safety car which the stewards are looking into.

Alfonso Celis Jr, Alex Palou and Aleksander Bosak all enjoyed strong races to finish inside the top 10, with Palou and Bosak picking up their first points in the series.

The event was littered with various incidents that limited the overall racing time to less than 20 minutes.

The biggest came when Nissan protege Jann Mardenborough, who was running sixth, lost the back end of his Carlin entry at the top of Eau Rouge and was fired off into the outside barrier.

Mardenborough stepped out of the car unscathed after the heavy impact.

The virtual safety car was out again later while Beitske Visser's stricken Trident car was removed from the outside of Blanchimont.

Once that incident was cleared another came along almost instantly as Matheo Tuscher drove into the side of Sandy Stuvik as they prepared for the restart.

Stuvik's Status team-mate Seb Morris was also in the wars. Morris initially ran wide at Eau Rouge and allowed Pal Varhaug to pull alongside on the Kemmel Straight.

The pair went side by side into Les Combes and touched, causing both of them to spin out.

NEWS UPDATE: Ocon penalised, Bernstorff gets win

RESULTS - 15 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Emil Bernstorff Arden International 44m00.242s
2 Esteban Ocon ART Grand Prix 3.945s
3 Marvin Kirchhofer ART Grand Prix 4.487s
4 Antonio Fuoco Carlin 4.763s
5 Luca Ghiotto Trident 8.551s
6 Alfonso Celis ART Grand Prix 14.541s
7 Alex Palou Campos Racing 17.492s
8 Alex Bosak Arden International 22.432s
9 Ralph Boschung Jenzer Motorsport 22.671s
10 Alex Fontana Status Grand Prix 23.145s
11 Mitch Gilbert Carlin 24.762s
12 Artur Janosz Trident 27.390s
13 Jimmy Eriksson Koiranen GP 27.442s
14 Zaid Ashkanani Campos Racing 29.327s
15 Adderly Fong Koiranen GP 45.303s
- Matheo Tuscher Jenzer Motorsport Retirement
- Sandy Stuvik Status Grand Prix Retirement
- Pal Varhaug Jenzer Motorsport Retirement
- Seb Morris Status Grand Prix Retirement
- Beitske Visser Trident Retirement
- Matt Parry Koiranen GP Retirement
- Jann Mardenborough Carlin Retirement
- Kevin Ceccon Arden International Retirement

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Spa GP3: Marvin Kirchhofer given grid penalty for blocking

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