Callum Ilott converted a reverse-grid pole start into his first GP3 Series victory in Race 2 at the French circuit of Paul Ricard, wrestling control of the race from early leader Pedro Piquet to secure ART Grand Prix’s second win of the weekend. Piquet enjoyed a quiet race to second, as Joey Mawson ended a strong weekend with the final podium placing.
Leading away at the start of the race, Ilott quickly found himself in a four-way battle for the lead with Piquet, Mawson and Alessio Lorandi — with Piquet streaking past Ilott at the first corner and leaving Mawson to take evasive action off the road. Ilott, quickly looking to make amends, repassed Piquet on the opening lap and immediately sought to build a gap over the Trident driver.
Ilott was helped out by Piquet’s need to defend from Mawson, who was under attack from Lorandi in turn. Meanwhile, Anthoine Hubert — handed victory in yesterday’s Race 1 following Dorian Boccolacci’s disqualification — was looking to climb the field following a slow start, rising back to his starting position of eighth before teammate Jake Hughes broke his front wing attempting to pass the Frenchman.
With Ilott dashing off into the distance Mawson was challenging Piquet, setting an early fastest lap in the process, before Hubert picked up the overall pace having cleared Leonardo Pulcini on Lap 5 with an uncompromising move into the fifth corner. This helped Hubert catch up to countryman Giuliano Alesi, who was fighting with Lorandi and Nikita Mazepin for fourth, engaging in a tight battle to capture the imaginations of the home crowd.
Passing the midway point of the race, Ilott possessed a two-second lead over Piquet, while the Brazilian was intent on building a buffer between himself and Mawson, nullifying the battle at the front. The action intensified behind them, and Lorandi found himself under heavy assault from Mazepin — who pushed hard for fourth, but was unable to overcome the sterling defensive work from the Italian ace. Hubert then attempted to produce a carbon copy of his Pulcini overtake on Alesi, but the Trident driver covered him off on the run to the straight.
The battle for fourth then cooled following those onslaughts, and action became scarce save for a twin-pronged MP Motorsport assault from Dorian Boccolacci and Christian Lundgaard on Juan Manuel Correa for 12th, the Frenchman attempting to recoup something from the weekend after losing his win.
Ilott checked out in the final laps, finding plenty of pace over Piquet to extend his advantage – crossing the line to win with a 3.4s gap. Piquet was untouched in second with Mawson third, both securing their first GP3 podium finishes. Lorandi held onto fourth from Mazepin, while Alesi retained sixth with Hubert unable to make any further inroads into the points, as Pulcini completed the scorers.
Hubert leaves the weekend having kept his championship lead, holding 63 points compared to second-placed teammate Mazepin with 49. Alesi remains third with 42 points. ART Grand Prix extend their advantage with 158 points, as Trident are behind with 82. Campos Racing occupy third with 31 points.
Returning to action next weekend, the GP3 Series moves to Austria and the Red Bull Ring circuit at Spielberg.
|1||Callum Ilott||ART Grand Prix|
|3||Joey Mawson||Arden International|
|5||Nikita Mazepin||ART Grand Prix|
|7||Anthoine Hubert||ART Grand Prix|
|8||Leonardo Pulcini||Campos Racing|
|10||David Beckmann||Jenzer Motorsport|
|11||Simo Laaksonen||Campos Racing|
|12||Juan Manuel Correa||Jenzer Motorsport|
|13||Christian Lundgaard||MP Motorsport|
|14||Dorian Boccolacci||MP Motorsport|
|15||Julian Falchero||Arden International|
|16||Tatiana Calderon||Jenzer Motorsport|
|17||Jake Hughes||ART Grand Prix|
|—||Niko Kari||MP Motorsport|
|—||Diego Menchaca||Campos Racing|
|—||Gabriel Aubry||Arden International|