Spa GP3: Mercedes junior George Russell leads ART 1-2-3 to victory

Mercedes Formula 1 junior driver George Russell headed another ART Grand Prix GP3 1-2-3 as he beat Jack Aitken and Nirei Fukuzumi in the first race at Spa

Spa GP3: Mercedes junior George Russell leads ART 1-2-3 to victory

Russell's third win of his rookie GP3 campaign extends the Briton's championship lead to 22 points over Aitken.

Arjun Maini finished fourth for Jenzer Motorsport, getting close to the battling Aitken and Fukuzumi in the closing stages.

Russell held the lead from pole at the start, but Fukuzumi made a great getaway from second to put him under pressure at the apex of La Source.

Fukuzumi then got a better run down the Kemmel Straight to seize first approaching Les Combes, as just further back Aitken dispatched Maini to move up to third in a similar move.

Honda F1 junior Fukuzumi started to edge away from his team-mates but his advantage was erased when the virtual safety car was deployed after Bruno Baptista's crashed into the barriers at Les Combes.

Baptista's incident was caused by his team-mate Tatiana Calderon bumping over the run-off kerbs at the chicane and clashing with the Brazilian as she returned to the track, which resulted in a 10-second penalty for the Sauber junior.

When the race resumed, Russell and Aitken were right with Fukuzumi and the former used the first of his six DRS activations to edge close to the leader on lap four of 17.

He did likewise on the run up the Kemmel Straight on the next lap and retook the lead on the approach to Les Combes, then set about immediately pulling away.

Aitken also used his DRS to close on Fukuzumi and moved ahead at the same corner on lap seven with a bold move around the outside, squirting the throttle to seal the place on the apex of the second part of the chicane.

From there, Russell established a sizeable gap and was able to maintain his advantage to the finish, crossing the line with a commanding 7.4s gap.

Fukuzumi put Aitken under pressure during the middle phase of the race and attacked with fresh impetuous in the final laps.

He retook second with a late move around the outside of the Bus Stop chicane on lap 15.

But Aitken immediately used his own DRS to close back on his team-mate and get ahead on the Kemmel Straight, for what turned out to be the final time because although Fukuzumi got close on the last tour he could not mount a final assault.

Dorian Boccolacci beat his Trident team-mate Ryan Tveter to sixth, as another of the Italian squad's drivers - Giuliano Alesi - finished seventh after charging up the order in the early laps.

Julien Falchero will start race two from pole after finishing eighth ahead of Niko Kari and Kevin Jorg, as Calderon finished 16th and last.

Marcos Siebert suffered what looked like a suspension failure in the closing stages, and Matthieu Vaxiviere and Anthoine Hubert, whose retirement was the only disappointment of the race for ART, also failed to finish.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Laps Gap
1 George Russell ART Grand Prix 17 37m47.103s
2 Jack Aitken ART Grand Prix 17 7.460s
3 Nirei Fukuzumi ART Grand Prix 17 7.807s
4 Arjun Maini Jenzer Motorsport 17 9.259s
5 Dorian Boccolacci Trident 17 14.409s
6 Ryan Tveter Trident 17 15.106s
7 Giuliano Alesi Trident 17 15.502s
8 Julien Falchero Campos Racing 17 23.361s
9 Niko Kari Arden International 17 26.210s
10 Kevin Jorg Trident 17 26.514s
11 Leonardo Pulcini Arden International 17 27.620s
12 Alessio Lorandi Jenzer Motorsport 17 29.201s
13 Steijn Schothorst Arden International 17 35.149s
14 Raoul Hyman Campos Racing 17 38.400s
15 Juan Manuel Correa Jenzer Motorsport 17 38.625s
16 Tatiana Calderon DAMS 17 43.005s
- Marcos Siebert Campos Racing 14 Retirement
- Matthieu Vaxiviere DAMS 7 Retirement
- Anthoine Hubert ART Grand Prix 4 Retirement
- Bruno Baptista DAMS 2 Retirement

Race two starting grid

Pos Driver Team
1 Julien Falchero Campos Racing
2 Giuliano Alesi Trident
3 Ryan Tveter Trident
4 Dorian Boccolacci Trident
5 Arjun Maini Jenzer Motorsport
6 Nirei Fukuzumi ART Grand Prix
7 Jack Aitken ART Grand Prix
8 George Russell ART Grand Prix
9 Niko Kari Arden International
10 Kevin Jorg Trident
11 Leonardo Pulcini Arden International
12 Alessio Lorandi Jenzer Motorsport
13 Steijn Schothorst Arden International
14 Raoul Hyman Campos Racing
15 Juan Manuel Correa Jenzer Motorsport
16 Tatiana Calderon DAMS
17 Marcos Siebert Campos Racing
18 Matthieu Vaxiviere DAMS
19 Anthoine Hubert ART Grand Prix
20 Bruno Baptista DAMS

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Spa GP3: Mercedes junior Russell takes pole in ART one-two

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