Abu Dhabi GP3: Hughes controls final race of the season

Jake Hughes clinched a dominant victory in the final race of the GP3 season at Abu Dhabi, the DAMS driver grabbing the lead at the first corner and remaining out of reach thereafter.

Starting second on the grid, Hughes was the chief beneficiary when a fast-starting Nirei Fukuzumi made a lightning getaway and went for the inside at Turn 1, pushing wide poleman Konstantin Tereshchenko and his Campos teammate Steijn Schothorst.

Jack Aitken also took advantage of the chaos to move up to second behind Hughes, with Fukuzumi slotting into third ahead of Jake Dennis, Schothorst and the second DAMS car of Kevin Jorg.

The race was soon neutralised when Alexander Albon, who started 19th after retiring from Saturday's race, and Tatiana Calderon made contact along the back straight, which pitched the former into the barriers at high speed and sent the latter into the pits with broken suspension.

That incident brought out the safety car, with the action resuming on lap four. The top four remained in order, but Alex Palou made short work of Jorg and Schothorst to climb to fifth.

Hughes, meanwhile, was quickly able to stretch a one-second gap over Aitken, who spent much of the race with his mirrors filled by both Fukuzumi and Dennis - although neither were able to make an overtake.

In the end, Hughes was able to come home for his second GP3 victory by a margin of 2.8s over Aitken, who eased clear of Fukuzumi in the closing stages as tyre degradation came into play.

The Japanese driver, despite sliding all over the road in the last couple of laps, held Dennis at bay to grab the final podium spot, the pair falling more than seven seconds back from Hughes by the finish.

Palou took fifth, albeit only 0.027s up on Tereschenko, who had earlier cleared Jorg and Schothorst to move back into sixth. Jorg held on to the final point despite a sustained assault from new champion Charles Leclerc, who recovered eight places from his grid slot of 17th.

There was action just outside the top 10, as Saturday winner Nyck de Vries - who made a poor start from eighth on the grid - became embroiled in battle with erstwhile title contender Antonio Fuoco.

The Italian driver, visibly frustrated with his adversary, made several attempts to pass de Vries, but wasn't able to make any of them stick - and ended up picking up a five-second time penalty for making contact with the McLaren junior at Turn 18.

That dropped Fuoco from 12th place on the road to 17th. 

Race results:

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About this article
Series GP3
Event Yas Marina
Track Yas Marina Circuit
Drivers Jake Hughes , Jack Aitken , Nirei Fukuzumi
Article type Race report