VSC infringement costs Hubert Abu Dhabi GP3 pole
ART Grand Prix driver Anthoine Hubert has been handed a post-event penalty after the first GP3 race in Abu Dhabi and has lost reverse-grid pole as a result.
The decision means Hubert also loses his significantly better starting spot compared to team-mate Nirei Fukuzumi, who he can still mathematically beat to third spot in the drivers’ standings.
Hubert finished eighth in the first race – won by Arden International’s outgoing Red Bull junior Niko Kari – and was set to start the second from first place in front of Dorian Boccolacci and Steijn Schothorst.
But following a post-race investigation into virtual safety car infringements during the 18-lap race, the stewards determined that Hubert had failed to observe the 80km/h speed limit required during the neutralisation period.
“Car data determined that Hubert went back onto the throttle before using the speed limiter, in violation of the sporting regulations,” read a GP3 statement.
Hubert therefore had five seconds added to his race time and he drops to 11th in the Race 2 standings.
Trident’s Ryan Tveter will now start Race 2 from pole, and his teammate Kevin Jorg and DAMS driver Bruno Baptista take the two and one points on offer for ninth and 10th in Race 1 respectively.
Hubert’s penalty means he will now start Race 2 from 11th – four places ahead of Fukuzumi, who finished 15th and out of the points in the opening race after getting stuck on the grid when the lights went out and then losing his front wing in a collision with Giuliano Alesi.
While Mercedes Formula 1 junior driver George Russell has already wrapped up the 2017 GP3 title, Fukuzumi is also fighting Renault academy member Jack Aitken, who finished 14th in Race 1, for second in the standings, as well as defending from Hubert.
The three ART drivers go into Sunday's finale separated by 23 points – Aitken on 140, Fukuzumi on 134 and Hubert on 117 – with a maximum of 17 points on offer.
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