Nikita Mazepin produced one of the most dominating performances of the season to take victory in the opening GP3 race of the weekend in Hungary.
Mazepin qualified on the front row with a bent front wishbone, after contact with Niko Kari, and made the most of his position to lead into turn one after a terrible getaway by poleman and championship leader Anthoine Hubert.
From there, the Russian controlled the race, leading by around two seconds to Campos Racing’s Leonardo Pulcini, eventually stretching his lead by eight seconds in the final four laps, including being two seconds quicker than his rivals on the final lap. Mazepin claimed the extra two points for fastest lap to stamp his authority on the race.
It was an equally quiet race for Pulcini. The Italian, who has only failed to score in one race so far this season, grabbed second off the line but did not have the pace to keep up with Mazepin. Equally, Hubert had no answer for Pulcini leaving the podium positions decided off the start.
Hubert extended his championship lead over team-mate Callum Ilott with the final step on the podium, whilst Ilott seemed to struggle as the race went on and fell from fourth early on to an eventual sixth place.
The Trident squad saw an amazing performance from their debutant David Beckmann. The German, who raced in the previous rounds for Jenzer Motorsport, has had a quiet season since starring in the opening round in Barcelona and was dropped by the Jenzer squad earlier this week. Trident snapped up Beckmann straight away and it has paid off. After qualifying a career best of seventh, the 18-year-old got the better of ART’s Jake Hughes with a strong move into turn one early on and closed slowly on Ilott before making his move at the start of lap 14 after the Brit ran wide coming on to the pit straight. From there, the Trident driver couldn’t close on a first podium but his career best result shows he is more at home with Trident than he was at Jenzer.
Fifth went to Beckmann’s team-mate Ryan Tveter. The American sat patiently third in line as Jake Hughes’ lack of race pace caused a queue of cars behind, which included Arden’s Joey Mawson. As Mawson got impatient behind Hughes, he tried to overtake Hughes twice on the outside of turn one. The contact during the second attempt left Mawson off the road at turn two and out of the race whilst Hughes returned to the pits to replace a broken front wing. This released Tveter to close and pass Ilott on the final lap as the Brit’s tyres gave up.
Juan Manuel Correa kept his nose clean, for one of the first times this season, as others fell by the way side and scored a superb seventh place for Jenzer ahead of Dorian Boccolacci for MP Motorsport. Boccolacci seemed to be looking for an aggressive race to move up through the field early on but his pace disappeared and it left him defending eighth place and reverse grid pole from the Campos of Diego Menchaca, who produced his strongest drive of the season so far. Boccolacci and Correa will be the front row for tomorrow’s race.
Arden International’s Gabriel Aubry scored his first GP3 point, making his way past Tatiana Calderon on the final lap to claimed tenth place.
Jenzer Motorsport’s debutant Jannes Fittje kept his nose clean and acquitted himself well to finish in 13th close behind Silverstone race winner Pedro Piquet, who had a race to forget as he finished with a broken front wing after contact with Niko Kari, who in turn retired as a result.
Anthoine Hubert has extended his championship lead to 17 points over team-mate Callum Ilott, whilst race winner Nikita Mazepin moves up to third ahead of Leonardo Pulcini.