Campos Racing driver snatches top spot in session’s final moments
Leonardo Pulcini took his first GP3 Series pole position in an exciting Qualifying session for the opening round in Barcelona, Spain, the Campos Racing driver snatching a late 1:32.258 time to wrest pole from ART Grand Prix’s Nikita Mazepin – as his teammate Anthoine Hubert secured third place on tomorrow’s Race 1 grid.
Trident pair Ryan Tveter and Alessio Lorandi were first to hit the circuit in breezy late afternoon conditions, maintaining track position to set the opening pair of flying laps, but the duo were immediately put in the shade by Hubert and Giuliano Alesi (Trident), who swarmed the top two positions after the initial flurry of quick runs.
Hubert extended his early advantage, before Mazepin cut a tenth off of the Frenchman’s time to take control of the session, holding top spot into the mid-session lull as the bulk of the field pitted ahead of their final runs. Although Hubert threatened to go quicker as the cars returned on track, a small collection of traffic nixed his initial hopes of pole, his hard luck compounded by the Russian driver taking 0.4s out of his own benchmark.
Fleetingly, Hubert captured the top time before Mazepin quickly put his teammate back into second, finding an extra tenth in hand. With a minute remaining on the clock, Pulcini fired into first place with a lap just fractions ahead of Mazepin’s benchmark, securing pole as the remainder of the field – despite a few late improvements – was unable to mount a challenge on the Italian driver’s last-ditch lap.
Mazepin and Hubert remained second and third, with Callum Ilott marginally behind his team-mates in fourth place. Niko Kari and Dorian Boccolacci locked out the third row for newcomers MP Motorsport, with rookie Simo Laaksonen (Campos) in seventh. David Beckmann of Jenzer Motorsport secured eighth with his final timed lap of the session, as Lorandi and Alesi completed the top 10.
With the top eighteen drivers separated by just under a second, tomorrow’s race should be an incredibly hotly contested affair.
2018 GP3 Series Round 1 Qualifying – Barcelona, Spain
Driver
Team
Time
Laps
1
Leonardo Pulcini
Campos Racing
1:32.258
11
2
Nikita Mazepin
ART Grand Prix
1:32.315
13
3
Anthoine Hubert
ART Grand Prix
1:32.405
13
4
Callum Ilott
ART Grand Prix
1:32.550
13
5
Niko Kari
MP Motorsport
1:32.590
14
6
Dorian Boccolacci
MP Motorsport
1:32.606
14
7
Simo Laaksonen
Campos Racing
1:32.774
11
8
David Beckmann
Jenzer Motorsport
1:32.796
13
9
Alessio Lorandi
Trident
1:32.802
14
10
Giuliano Alesi
Trident
1:32.829
15
11
Jake Hughes
ART Grand Prix
1:32.855
13
12
Juan Manuel Correa
Jenzer Motorsport
1:32.894
13
13
Pedro Piquet
Trident
1:32.953
13
14
Tatiana Calderon
Jenzer Motorsport
1:32.955
14
15
Julien Falchero
Arden International
1:33.099
15
16
Diego Menchaca
Campos Racing
1:33.135
11
17
Joey Mawson
Arden International
1:33.168
13
18
Gabriel Aubry
Arden International
1:33.252
15
19
Ryan Tveter
Trident
1:33.665
15
20
Will Palmer
MP Motorsport
1:33.710
15