Barcelona GP3: Mazepin scores maiden win on debut

Force India development driver Nikita Mazepin beat his ART teammates Anthoine Hubert and Callum Ilott to win his debut GP3 race in Barcelona.

A poor start from pole position for Leonardo Pulcini relegated the Italian to fifth, allowing fellow front row starter Mazepin into an early lead.

The Russian immediately set about building a two second gap, which only increased as the race went on thanks to the battle behind.

Ferrari junior Ilott appeared to have the measure of Hubert, after passing him with DRS into Turn 1 on lap 12 of 22.

But with a handful of laps to go, it became clear that Hubert was saving his tyres and he breezed back past his teammate with a couple of laps to go.

Pulcini recovered to fourth, but only after a mistake from MP Motorsport’s Dorian Boccolacci, who ran wide at Turn 3, opening the door for the Campos driver.

Boccolacci then came under late pressure because of his mistake, but held on to beat German rookie David Beckmann and Ferrari Academy driver Giuliano Alesi, who made good progress from 10th on the grid.

He takes a provisional second for Sunday’s reverse grid race with his seventh place finish.

The all-important eighth spot went to Juan Manuel Correa, the Jenzer driver managing his tyres better than Jake Hughes, who held the position for most of the race.

Even without DRS, such was Hughes’ tyre degradation that Correa was able to steal the spot at Turn 1 with two laps to go.

Hughes had previously fought off Alessio Lorandi, who attempted a robust move around the outside at Turn 1, but he clipped the inside of the curb which spat him into the gravel trap. He ended up 11th.

Pedro Piquet, son of three-time Formula 1 champion Nelson, rose to ninth late on in his GP3 debut with Trident, as Diego Menchaca came 10th despite lacking track time thanks to a hydraulic issue in practice.

Both he and teammate Simo Laaksonen, who finished 16th, had issues before the race started as their cars trailed cables from cooling equipment left in on the starting grid.

Race results

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About this article
Series GP3
Event Barcelona
Sub-event Saturday race
Track Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
Drivers Nikita Mazepin
Teams ART Grand Prix
Article type Race report