Jerez GP3: Fukuzumi beats Aitken, Russell to pole

Nirei Fukuzumi beat his ART Grand Prix teammates Jack Aitken and George Russell to pole position in the GP3 qualifying at Jerez.

The Honda Formula 1 junior driver claimed his first on-track pole in the third-tier category – he was handed the top grid spot after qualifying was washed-out at Monza – by jumping to the top of the times in the dying moments of qualifying.

Red Bull-backed British driver Dan Ticktum finished fourth, ahead of the final ART driver, Anthoine Hubert.

The ART squad left the pits with the rest of the pack at the beginning of the 30-minute session but all four drivers quickly came back in.

Dorian Boccolacci and Giuliano Alesi therefore topped the times during the early running, with the former surviving a brush with the barriers on the outside of the right-hand Turn 10 at the bottom of the circuit, after bumping over the kerbs at the exit of the previous corner.

Another driver to take a trip through the gravel during the opening exchanges was DAMS driver Bruno Baptista, who swept around the outside of the long Turn 4 left-hander.

Ticktum, who is making just his second GP3 appearance after making his debut last time out at Monza, briefly held the lead before the ART drivers vaulted to the head of the pack.

Renault F1 academy member Aitken put in a time of 1m31.249s that left him just under 0.1s ahead of Russell and Hubert as the pack came in to make last-minute adjustments ahead of the final efforts.

When the action resumed, championship leader Russell – a Mercedes F1 junior – stole the top spot from Aitken, his nearest challenger in the standings.

But when Russell didn’t improve on his final lap, Aitken briefly reclaimed first place only to be usurped by Fukuzumi seconds later.

The Japanese driver put in a best time of 1m30.678s to end up 0.169s and 0.211s in front of his teammates.

Ticktum, recently announced as one of the 2017 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award nominees, wound up 0.353s behind Fukuzumi, but ahead of Hubert.

Alessio Lorandi qualified sixth for Jenzer Motorsport, just in front of Boccolacci, Arden International’s Niko Kari and Tatiana Calderon (DAMS).

Steijn Schothorst rounded out the top 10 for Arden, ahead of Alesi and his Trident teammates Kevin Jorg and Ryan Tveter.

Qualifying results:

1 japan Nirei Fukuzumi  france ART Grand Prix 1'30.678  
2 united_kingdom Jack Aitken  france ART Grand Prix 1'30.847 0.169
3 united_kingdom George Russell  france ART Grand Prix 1'30.889 0.211
4 united_kingdom Dan Ticktum  france DAMS 1'31.031 0.353
5 france Anthoine Hubert  france ART Grand Prix 1'31.140 0.462
6 italy Alessio Lorandi  switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'31.334 0.656
7 france Dorian Boccolacci  italy Trident 1'31.389 0.711
8 finland Niko Kari  united_kingdom Arden International 1'31.404 0.726
9 colombia Tatiana Calderon  france DAMS 1'31.478 0.800
10 netherlands Steijn Schothorst  united_kingdom Arden International 1'31.507 0.829
11 france Giuliano Alesi  italy Trident 1'31.593 0.915
12 switzerland Kevin Jörg  italy Trident 1'31.661 0.983
13 united_states Ryan Tveter  italy Trident 1'31.689 1.011
14 france Julien Falchero  spain Campos Racing 1'31.707 1.029
15 argentina Marcos Siebert  spain Campos Racing 1'31.707 1.029
16 italy Leonardo Pulcini  united_kingdom Arden International 1'31.726 1.048
17 south_africa Raoul Hyman  spain Campos Racing 1'31.984 1.306
18 united_states Juan Manuel Correa  switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'32.019 1.341
19 india Arjun Maini  switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'32.139 1.461
20 brazil Bruno Baptista  france DAMS 1'32.161 1.483
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About this article
Series GP3
Event Jerez
Sub-event Friday qualifying
Track Circuito de Jerez
Drivers Nirei Fukuzumi
Teams ART Grand Prix
Article type Qualifying report