Sochi GP3: Pulcini wins as Mazepin beats Hubert

Leonardo Pulcini took a lights-to-flag victory in the GP3 feature race at Sochi, as Nikita Mazepin inched closer to Anthoine Hubert in the championship after a last-lap move on the Frenchman.

Sochi GP3: Pulcini wins as Mazepin beats Hubert
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Despite cutting Turn 2 after the start, Pulcini kept the lead from pole and quickly pulled away from the ART duo of Callum Ilott and Hubert.

Hubert drove around Ilott on the outside line of the Turn 3-4 section for second a few laps into the race before the Briton lost another position to Giuliano Alesi on the same lap.

Ilott then ran off track while trying to re-pass Alesi and ended up losing a further two positions to Nikita Mazepin, who also cut the track but on the other side and thus didn't lose momentum, and Jake Hughes.

Mazepin then quickly demoted Alesi to third and spent the majority of the race with a two-second gap behind Hubert.

The local driver then dramatically improved his pace in the late stages, catching up with Hubert with two laps remaining, and making a move on the main straight.

The battle between the duo allowed Pulcini to take his first win of the season by 3.9s, with Mazepin, having also set the fastest time, cutting Hubert's points lead by five to 20.

Ilott continued to struggle in the second half of the race and lost positions to the charging Richard Verschoor and David Beckmann.

Verschoor even passed Hughes, although slightly cutting the track at Turn 2 in the process, but the Dutchman was not penalised for the move as he took fourth.

Hughes was set to take fifth but lost two positions on the last lap to Beckmann and Simo Laaksonen.

Ilott was fighting for reverse-grid pole in the dying stages before he ran off track and dropped as low as 13th.

It was Joey Mawson securing eighth, followed by Jenzer duo Juan Manuel Correa and Tatiana Calderon.

Like Ilott, Alesi also struggled for pace in the second half of the race and only finished 14th.

Ryan Tveter's Trident went slightly airborne after contact with Laaksonen at Turn 2 after the start and he eventually retired with one lap to go, while Diego Menchaca was out of the race straight after the start.

Race results

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap
1 Italy Leonardo Pulcini  Spain Campos Racing 20 38'56.960  
2 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin  France ART Grand Prix 20 39'00.915 3.955
3 France Anthoine Hubert  France ART Grand Prix 20 39'03.997 7.037
4 Richard Verschoor  MP Motorsport 20 39'05.274 8.314
5 David Beckmann  Italy Trident 20 39'09.591 12.631
6 Finland Simo Laaksonen  Spain Campos Racing 20 39'10.402 13.442
7 United Kingdom Jake Hughes  France ART Grand Prix 20 39'11.158 14.198
8 Australia Joey Mawson  United Kingdom Arden International 20 39'21.044 24.084
9 United States Juan Manuel Correa  Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 20 39'22.463 25.503
10 Colombia Tatiana Calderon  Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 20 39'28.525 31.565
11 France Gabriel Aubry  United Kingdom Arden International 20 39'28.933 31.973
12 Germany Jannes Fittje  Switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 20 39'30.116 33.156
13 United Kingdom Callum Ilott  France ART Grand Prix 20 39'32.753 35.793
14 France Giuliano Alesi  Italy Trident 20 39'33.182 36.222
15 Brazil Pedro Piquet  Italy Trident 20 39'34.674 37.714
16 Sacha Fenestraz  United Kingdom Arden International 20 39'35.372 38.412
17 Canada Devlin DeFrancesco  MP Motorsport 20 39'36.317 39.357
18 United States Ryan Tveter  Italy Trident 19 37'57.523 1 Lap
  Mexico Diego Menchaca  Spain Campos Racing      
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