Abu Dhabi GP3: Mazepin cuts points deficit with pole

Racing Point Force India Formula 1 junior Nikita Mazepin cut his GP3 Series points deficit to Anthoine Hubert by taking pole position in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi GP3: Mazepin cuts points deficit with pole

Mazepin had been largely anonymous for the majority of the session, but crossed the line ahead of ART Grand Prix teammate Hubert to put the pressure on with a 1m54.885s.

It was Mazepin's first pole of the season, as he was disqualified from pole last time out in Russia due to a breach of track limits, and the Russian also becomes the final polesitter of the GP3 era before the series becomes FIA F3 next year.

Hubert was a tenth of a second slower, meaning he’ll start Saturday’s feature race in third behind poleman Mazepin and Campos Racing’s Leonardo Pulcini.

Pulcini had topped a large part of qualifying, leading before the final runs, and only Mazepin could improve to beat the Italian driver.

Hubert, who holds a 28-point advantage after qualifying, can still seal the title in the first race on Saturday by finishing second, even if Mazepin wins and takes two points for fastest lap.

British pair Jake Hughes and Callum Ilott made sure all four ART cars were in the top five, ahead of leading Trident driver David Beckmann in sixth.

Giuliano Alesi topped practice earlier in the day, but couldn’t replicate that dominance in qualifying and ended up seventh, followed by teammate Ryan Tveter, Simo Laaksonen (Campos) and Juan Manuel Correa (Jenzer).

Despite setting the fourth fastest time in practice, Jehan Daruvala could only manage 15th in qualifying on his GP3 Series race-weekend debut with MP Motorsport.

Qualifying results:

Pos. # Driver Team Time Gap
1 3 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin  France ART Grand Prix 1'54.885  
2 18 Italy Leonardo Pulcini  Spain Campos Racing 1'54.952 0.067
3 2 France Anthoine Hubert  France ART Grand Prix 1'55.041 0.156
4 4 United Kingdom Jake Hughes  France ART Grand Prix 1'55.068 0.183
5 1 United Kingdom Callum Ilott  France ART Grand Prix 1'55.098 0.213
6 8 David Beckmann  Italy Trident 1'55.178 0.293
7 6 France Giuliano Alesi  Italy Trident 1'55.345 0.460
8 7 United States Ryan Tveter  Italy Trident 1'55.511 0.626
9 19 Finland Simo Laaksonen  Spain Campos Racing 1'55.525 0.640
10 10 United States Juan Manuel Correa  Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'55.535 0.650
11 5 Brazil Pedro Piquet  Italy Trident 1'55.589 0.704
12 22 Richard Verschoor  MP Motorsport 1'55.597 0.712
13 11 Germany Jannes Fittje  Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'55.782 0.897
14 9 Colombia Tatiana Calderon  Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'55.789 0.904
15 24 Jehan Daruvala  MP Motorsport 1'55.828 0.943
16 14 France Gabriel Aubry  United Kingdom Arden International 1'55.836 0.951
17 20 Mexico Diego Menchaca  Spain Campos Racing 1'55.914 1.029
18 15 Sacha Fenestraz  United Kingdom Arden International 1'55.985 1.100
19 23 Canada Devlin DeFrancesco  MP Motorsport 1'56.142 1.257
20 16 Australia Joey Mawson  United Kingdom Arden International 1'56.276 1.391
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